Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

News Whistle blowers are Treated Harshly

  1. Sep 4, 2007 #1
    I seem to sense that whistle blowers are seen as lesser citizens. Is it the old stool pigeon connotation? There is something to this that doesn't make sense. Many people have given valuable information about illegal acts and corruption only to end up on the losing side.

    In this next case a government employee was demoted and her life thoroughly trashed.
    I understand that Haliburton is a powerful company, but that doesn't explain why her friends abandoned her. Do we have a collective darker side when it comes to accepting those who report wrongdoing? It appears that we do.

    http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/08/24/ap4052736.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 5, 2007 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    The article isn't exactly clear on who those friends were. If they were employees of Haliburton, their anger is quite understandable: she threatened their livelihood. And the same goes for the company itself. I mean really - if you turn your mother in for tax evasion, can you not expect your next family reunion to be a bit hostile?

    That isn't to say we shouldn't have whistleblower laws, but if I had a whistle to blow, I'd probably quit my job first if I could.
  4. Sep 5, 2007 #3
    She wasn't an employee of Haliburton she was the highest-ranking civilian contracting officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. She testified before Congress, yet even the Congress gave her no protection.

    As far as quitting the job before reporting; one would then be labeled as a disgruntled former employee. It happens all the time.

    I still think that there is a darker reason behind the way whistle blowers are treated, even by their friends and co-workers.

    In her situation or in the corporate world, we could safely assume that the higher ranking officials are not pleased. In effect the whistle blower has made them look bad and must be discredited.
  5. Sep 5, 2007 #4
    It's the cost of being a whistle-blower. If you're going to do it, expect the worst.
  6. Sep 5, 2007 #5
    shouldn't government be working vary hard to make sure whistle-blowers are compensated for their contribution to society? i mean that sounds like a fairly standard thing for a government or justice system to do, to make sure people that report violations of law are not harmed for it
  7. Sep 5, 2007 #6


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Whistle-blowing on a minor problem is one thing. If you blow the whistle on graft, corruption, bribery, etc, involving serious money, you are stepping on the tails of some really big dogs and you will get bitten.
  8. Sep 5, 2007 #7
    Pretty much, no. That's what cops are for.
  9. Sep 5, 2007 #8


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Oh, we'll that's a little weird. I don't kow what the reason would be if she was exposing another company. I'm not even sure that really counts as whistle-blowing. Typically whistle-blowing is reporting on your own company. I can't imagine why your company (even the Army) would get mad if you make it aware that one of your vendors is screwing you.
  10. Sep 5, 2007 #9


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    No. The cops come in after the whistle has been blown.

    You believe whistle-blowers should be punished rather than rewarded? Should we throw away all whistle-blower protection laws (not that GWB hasn't essentially done that with a signing statement) first?
  11. Sep 5, 2007 #10
    If you are going to "blow the whistle" expect trouble. I'm not saying don't do it, just don't expect any special treatment and you better be discreet. Do you realize how many people make false accusations against employers looking for a settlement? If the law were to cater to every loony that called foul they wouldn't be able to do their job. We have special investigators, FBI, and all sorts of agencies that are employed to do just that.
  12. Sep 5, 2007 #11

    It is pretty obvious that in this case both the Congress and the Army Corp of Engineers were very much influenced by Haliburton and Dick Cheney.

  13. Sep 6, 2007 #12
    By googling "Whistle Blower fired" it would appear that many are fired, especially from government agencies.

    As for your statement:

    No I don't realize how many false accusations are made , especially in the context of whistle blowing. Other than something like a sexual harassment accusation how would a whistle blower's claims of wrong doing or illegal practices result in a settlement??

    They aren't suing or threatening to sue the employer.

    We need a system that stands behind and protects employees who believe in their convictions and are honest enough to step forward. This is especially true in the two cases covered in the OP link, and hundreds of others like it.

    If the term concerened employees were to be substituted for whistle blower
    would the dark cloud over these people still be as intense??
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2007
  14. Sep 6, 2007 #13
    why would you encourage someone to sacrifice parts of their personally life for reporting illegal wrong doing by their employers while at the same time telling them to expect trouble?

    to me this sounds like the corporate world equivalent of telling someone "you should tell the police about the crimes of your mafia boss, but just don't expect anyone to protect you from retribution"
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Threads for Whistle blowers Treated Date
Whistling Teeth Feb 3, 2013
Broken snow blower? Feb 26, 2010
The whistle and flute Sep 9, 2008
PTSD, repression, and whistling past the graveyard Jun 25, 2007
Don't Whistle While You Work. Dec 19, 2006