Whistleblowing and Ethics

Published: 2018-11-13 03:40:16
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Whistle Blowing Incident

Whistle-blowing is increasingly becoming a vital concept in political and public governance in the contemporary world. The first dramatization of whistle-blowing occurred in the late 1960s when some whistleblowers came out to condemn the rise in corruption, the impending secrets in Vietnam wars, and police brutality among other incidences. Since that time, whistleblowing has gained momentum and recognition by governments to the extent that the whistleblower's rights are enshrined in the governing laws and the ethical principles guiding the conduct of whistle-blowing. This paper will highlight an example of the incidences that catalyzed whistle-blowing in the public sector in the United States (Isaacs, 2010). Furthermore, the paper will use the ideas in Bowman article on whistleblowing to analyze the concept of whistleblowing. Finally, the paper will use the whistleblower's protection rules to reflect on whether the whistle blower was protected from employer or state retaliation.

One of the incidences that prompted whistleblowing in the United States is the practice by the Wells Fargo company to create phony credit and bank accounts for clients. In the incident, the junior employees were ordered to send the debit and credit cards for customers and align the debit cards to the online banking system without the consent of the clients. The practice was unethical according to some employees who reported the act to the human resource manager as a warning of their discontent with the dishonest sales strategy (Egan, 2016). However, no actions were taken to contain the problem and the employees went ahead and reported the act to the ethics body for action. Surprisingly the workers were fired citing outlandish claims of "excessive tardiness.

Relating to Bowman article

The whistleblowing incident above is in line with the ideas on Bowman's article on whistleblowing. According to Bowman, whistleblowing is an indicator and symbol of ubiquitous nature of political problems in the world. The whistleblower exposes the evils entailed in the governing bodies that come as a secret to the ruled (Bowman,1980). In this case, it is through whistleblowing that the citizens of the United States became aware of the evils committed by Wells Fargo despite being an influential institution in the United States. Therefore, whistleblowing serves as an insight to the citizens on the conduct of the government.

Furthermore, from the incident, it is evident that the morals of individuals get washed down by the institutions in which they work in. The employees get cultured to accommodate the norms in the institutions so much that they forego their societal morals. For instance, other workers serving in the Wells Fargo and using the same malicious selling strategy did not see anything wrong with what was exposed because they were institutionalized to normalize the acts.

Moreover, Bowman states that the whistleblowers are assigned trivial tasks, dishonorably fired, coerced to take psychiatric tests and get their career destroyed. This is true because more than5300 employees in Wells Fargo were fired following the expose`. For instance, Bill Bado who served as a banker in Wells Fargo was fired, and his securities license was destroyed because of exposing the company.

Protection of the Whistle Blower

Finally, Bowman suggests that the bureaucracies do more to get rid of whistleblowers. This entails imprisonment, giving them packages and making the world believe that they are traitors. For instance, in Bado`s case, the company monitored him to find a slight flaw on which they could base the sacking on. Therefore, the company observed him on lateness. Wells Fargo sacked Bado for "tardiness." Furthermore, Heather Brock who worked at Wells Fargo as a business banker was also fired for "falsifying documents" after she reported the illegal act to the companies` ethics wing. Brock recounts how she was forced to admit the mistake she did not do through coercion. Therefore, this proves that businesses would go an extra mile to castigate deserters in the human resource pool.

The whistleblower laws were not sufficiently applied in Bado`s case. For instance, the Act on whistleblowers protection demands that the whistleblower is not threatened by the employer or the government or the employer should not solicit retaliatory actions against the whistleblower for disclosure of information. Contrary to the Act, Wells Fargo still retaliated by firing the employees who engaged in exposing the illegal acts happening in the company.

Furthermore, Dodd-Frank Act contains means which will lead to the protection of whistleblowers who testify mistreatments of their securities. The reports of abuse are supposed to be made to the Commodities futures trading commission or the SEC. The Dodd-Frank Act also protect workers who expose fraudulent financial products to consumers to the Bureau (Reuter, 2016). However, the act was not sufficiently followed in the Wells Fargo case because the employees were retaliated against in the most hostile manner after reporting the case to the authorities concerned. Besides, the securities license of the employees were damaged and therefore, they could not get any employment in other financial institutions. Therefore, Wells Fargo contravened the whistleblower protection laws and was subsequently ordered to pay for damages caused to the employees and the public.

References

Bowman, J. (1980). Whistle-Blowing in the Public Service: an Overview of the Issues. Review Of Public Personnel Administration, 1(1), 15-27. HYPERLINK "http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0734371x8000100102" http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0734371x8000100102.

Egan, M. (2016). Wells Fargo workers: I called the ethics line and was fired. CNNMoney. Retrieved 29 December 2016, from HYPERLINK "http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/21/investing/wells-fargo-fired-workers-retaliation-fake-accounts" http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/21/investing/wells-fargo-fired-workers-retaliation-fake-accounts.

Reuters. (2016). Wells Fargo complaints show flaws in federal whistleblower program. Retrieved 29 December 2016, from HYPERLINK "http://www.reuters.com/article/us-wells-fargo-accounts-whistleblower-idUSKCN12D2M0" http://www.reuters.com/article/us-wells-fargo-accounts-whistleblower-idUSKCN12D2M0.

sheldon

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