Whistleblowing refers to the act of exposing ills like corruption, violation of safety and health conditions in an organization by an employee of the organization. Due to many violations by organizations, whistleblowing has received a lot of prominence in the 21st century. This paper provides a solution to a given case analysis that explores the issue of whistleblowing in depth. The solution will provide a detailed response to the case by giving examples and sample responses to each of the five case questions.
1) Would you report this situation to anyone else? If so, who and why?
Yes, first I will report such a situation to my supervisor immediately especially about the machine that caused the sparks. I believe that by reporting to my immediate supervisor could be in protocol. An individual in any organization who is thinking on whistleblowing will consider among other things how best to raise the concern in the public interest for it to be addressed properly but at the same time minimizing risk to himself/herself. It is therefore important that before the matter is reported, the individual discusses the matter internally first using all possible and appropriate channels before resorting to go outside the organization. it is also important to check that the case is genuine (in this case the situation calls for action), who is affected and how they are affected, risks attached to misconduct, whether the organization has a whistleblowing policy, risk of professional disciplinary action, and whether there is legal protection for whistleblowing.
This is the reason for resorting to report to my immediate supervisor who will inform his seniors for action and if no action is taken, then report the matter outside the organization.
But according to some of the organization’s senior employees’ responses earlier, there is little hope that they will take any action and if no action is taken I will report the matter to Occupation Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) for safety of the other employees. OSHA has a Whistleblower Protection Program that enforces the whistleblower provisions and in turn protects employees who report various violations and malpractices in their respective workplace. Some of the rights afforded by OSHA include but are not limited to worker participation in safety and health activities and reporting of violation of statues. As Littlebury is violating the Workplace Safety and Health, the OSHA Act prohibits employers from discriminating against their employers for exercising their rights under OSH Act. These rights include filing a complaint, seeking access to employer exposure and injury records (Occupation Safety & Health Administration).
2) If you choose not to report the situation, explain your decision.
Because of the sensitivity of the matter, I will have to report the above situation to my supervisor and if no action is taken report it to OSHA or else I risk the lives of Littlebury employees. I better risk my job than the lives of several hundred of my relatives and friends who I work with.
However, there are many reasons of not possibly reporting the situation than not doing so. First, I need to understand well all the duties that are required of me to perform and if there is none that requires me to make a report on the nature of safety of the machines, then I back off. Karen should also do her duties according the duties out lined to her. If she obliged to give such a report, otherwise I have no mandate of reporting another person’s issues. She may also opt to stop working at the factory to avoid waiting until a tragedy strikes (Bangladesh Factory Worker, n.d).
3) What are the possible consequences if you were to report this situation?
Consequences are you may have saved untold lives. Another consequence is that the owners may be forced to close down the business for sometime or be forced to completely close it and may opt to move overseas. The cost of moving the operation overseas would be prohibitive and thus may result to a total shutdown. The owners can also get ‘hooligans’ to harass whistle blower or they can do it themselves by threatening to sack him. It may also take a longer time for the whistleblower to get protected (only if he is right) and may be awarded damages for the same.
4) What are the possible consequences if you fail to report the workplace condition?
I feel that it could be unethical not to report such a situation to the relevant authorities for action to be taken and save lives of many co-workers. If however the situation is not reported, there is the possibility that the health conditions of most of the employers will be at risk due to the fact that they will be inhaling the dust which may cause health/ breathing problems. Also, the sparks may cause a huge fire that will consume the business and even the lives of the employees. If the report is made through Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a thorough investigation may be done that will see an overhaul change in an organization that will lead to increased production, generally better working conditions and possibly increased earning (You have the right to a safe workplace, n.d.).
5) Let’s assume that you have reported the workplace condition. Is this whistleblowing? If so, would it be morally justified in this situation?
Whistleblowing is defined as the act of exposing a miscount, an illegal activity, or an alleged misconduct occurring in an organization. Whistleblowing has been growing in the recent past especially in the 21st century as more and more people report miscounts and dishonest organizations and employers who violate the law, corruption, or safety operations. An analysis of the above case shows that there is violation of the health and safety concerns for the employees working on Littlebury’s Wooden factory.
The act of Whistleblowing in the above scenario is very important as it could possibly lead to saving numerous lives and the whistleblower’s job in spite of the fact that the whistleblower’s work may not be considered whistle blowing. I think in this case it is whistleblowing but that is justified because of health and safety concerns. In the above case at Littlebury, most of the employers are willing not to report the case because of fear of the unknown or simply because they may not work for a few days but I think safety comes first and as such the whistleblower should report the matter to OSHA as soon as possible to avoid a catastrophe. However, they are other options available to the staff like staging a strike and ensuring that they do not report to work until the place has been cleared of the impeding danger.
Bangladesh Factory Worker Discusses Horrible Working Conditions – SPIEGEL ONLINE. (n.d.). SPIEGEL ONLINE – Nachrichten. Retrieved August 18, 2013, from http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/bangladesh-factory-worker-discusses-horrible-working-conditions-a-899976.html
Occupation Safety & Health Administration. (n.d.). United States Department of Labor. DWPP. Retrieved August 18, 2013, from http://www.whistleblowers.gov/
You have the right to a safe workplace. (n.d.). osha.. Retrieved August 18, 2013, from https://www.osha.gov/workers.html