Ethical Whistle-blowing

Mohanatheesan Theiventhiram
3 min readJul 25, 2020

Whistle-blowing is one of the most effective ways to detect and prevent corruption and other malpractice. It is an occurrence when a worker passes on information concerning wrongdoing. It is considered as one of the primary rights of employees in most of the countries and relevant laws are made to protect the rights of employees during such situations.

There are four elements of the whistle-blowing process:
1. The whistle-blower
2. The whistle-blowing act or complaint
3. The party to whom the complaint is made
4. The organization against which the complaint is lodged

A whistle-blower is a person that closely associated with the organization. He may be an employee, or sometimes a supplier or a customer. They become a whistle-blower when they observe behavior or actions that they believe to be misconduct or illegal. They disclosing information public or some higher authority about any wrongdoing, which could be in the form of frauds or corruptions.

The ethics of whistle-blowing is a tricky matter. Whistle-blowing brings two moral values, fairness and loyalty, into conflict. Doing what is fair or just (e.g-promoting an employee based on talent alone) often conflicts with showing loyalty (e.g- promoting a longstanding but unskilled employee). Taken to its extreme from a loyalty perspective.

In employer’s perspective it is always a pleasant thing to create an open, transparent and safe working environment where workers feel able to speak up. The organization should establish such a working environment for the employees, so that they can speak themselves up.The organizations should provide opportunities for the employees to learn about the concepts of whistle-blowing, where should they report in such instances, what can they disclose, through workshop programs.

Procedure for a whistle-blowing

Taking Notice of illegal behavior :
Whether he an employee , a manager, an executive, a shareholder, a competitor, or an astute industry observer they have the power to take socially conscious efforts when they see illegal behavior occur at companies in the form of fraud against the government.

Contacting a Whistle-blowing Attorney :
Before taking decisive action, their first step should be to contact an experienced whistle-blower attorney who they trust to guide them through the process. Their attorney will act on their behalf in contacting the government and securing your reward.

Collecting relevant Evidence :
They will work with their attorney to collect the relevant evidence that supports their claims of wrongdoing at the company. They are not expected to have all evidence necessary to prove their claim at the outset and additional evidence may be obtained through government investigation or the litigation process.

Filling their Whistle-blowing claim :
Their attorney will then take the necessary steps to file their whistle-blowing claim. Depending on what type of claim it is, this may be a complaint filed under seal or a private submission to a federal office.Again their attorney can and will keep their identity confidential for as long as is necessary and possible, and will apprise them of all developments.

Government Investigation/Litigation :
The federal government may take over the primary investigative or litigation efforts in their whistle-blowing claim or may provide support to them and their attorney as the facts in their case are determined. This aspect of the process can be quite lengthy and their attorney can give them a better estimate of what timeline they are looking at.

Obtaining their Reward :
If the government successfully sues the defendant or a settlement is reached with the defendant, then they will be entitled to a whistle-blower reward. Hundreds of million of dollars have been paid to whistle-blower in recent years for their efforts.