It is a human ethical duty to report unlawful activities in the workplace once discovered. While remuneration, stability, and social status are what drives the majority of us careerwise, one should not put their judgment and morals aside for the sake of keeping their job. Every human being has the leverage to improve or destroy someone’s life, even if the impact is not direct. Therefore, if an employee spots that someone is actively harming another person, morally, by keeping silent, he or she becomes an accomplice. On a larger scale, laws and regulations may fail to work if every one of us does not have enough self-autonomy and integrity to report illegal behavior.
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Some may argue that blowing the whistle goes against corporate conventions. Yet, on-the-job agreements are inferior to what the actual legislation says. No employee owes his or her employer to keep their secrets if they concern breaking the law (Waxer, 2014). By timely reporting, an employee accomplishes two goals at once. First, he or she sets a positive precedent for others and contributes to building a wholesome corporate culture. Second, they clear their own conscience and separate themselves from the crime. Besides, whistleblowers are legally protected: the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Whistleblower Protection Program seeks to support employees who report violations (Vandekerckhove, 2016).
However, sometimes, whistleblowing is not exactly reasonable. One example for the field of information technology would be making an error along the way. For instance, at one of my previous jobs, I heard of a situation when one employee lost a piece of valuable data on the company’s clients. An unjustified decision would be for someone to blow the whistle and report it to the authorities right away. As far as I know, the situation resolved itself over the course of the next few days as the data was successfully restored. I would say that in IT, whistleblowing is to be avoided if a problem can be handled internally.
Vandekerckhove, W. (2016). Whistleblowing and organizational social responsibility: A global assessment. Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge.
Waxer, C. (2014). Blowing the whistle without blowing your career. Web.