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Most public companies being publicly traded are always tempted to engage in deceit and unethical behavior. A whistleblower therefore is the person who is willing to bring out evidence incriminating an organization of engaging in unethical behavior. The unethical deeds in such companies range from manipulating financial data to suit the top management desires to harassment on the part of employees and clients.
Key characteristics of a whistleblower.
A whistleblower can be any person working within an organization as an employee or an outsider who has the chance of exposing corruption to the public. Therefore there are two types of whistleblowing that are internal and external whistleblowers. For a person to be a whistleblower then there are characteristics that they have to poses. Motivation, utilitarianism and must not be willing to alter their behavior. Being a whistleblower requires one to be willing to face the dangers that come with exposing a company where one could be an employee. There are both physical and mental challenges that results from whistleblowing (Ensign, 2014). The management can decide to sack the whistleblower. There are a part of people who believe that being a whistleblower is an act of disloyalty to a company.
The most a recent case of whistleblowing was that of Val Riviello a nurse at Veterans Affairs. The nurse who had been serving in the Albany medical center as a manager claimed that doctors had put a restrain on a patient for more than seven hours. The restrain was against the VA rules. Val Riviello had reported the instance to the supervisors. The supervisor despite being in a position to solve the problem instead made a decision to strip her off her nursing duties. After the suspensions she was not given payments for thirty days. There was debate on whether it was right for the nurse to report the case to her supervisors. MS Riviello further went ahead to reveal that 5000 vials of morphine had been stolen. The vials were refilled with saline solution and the used to treat veterans who were in pain at that particular time.
Riviello gave the report with the intention of shielding the sick Veterans, but regrettably, the organization did not take the news optimistically. After reporting the incidence to the Fox News and the United States Office of Special Counsel, she was suspended from her roles as a nurse without payment as they claimed she was ruining the reputation of the organization.
It was unethical for Veterans affairs to suspend the nurse without completing any further investigation. The report that Riviello provided had both positive and negative impact. The first adverse effect was the damage of the company`s reputation compromising the future performance of the company. Riviello decision to be a whistleblower was justified. Considering the fact that the veterans were the people who had committed to protecting the country and therefore it was wrong to treat them unfairly and with demeaning. Personally, I am persuaded that she did the correct thing considering it was an illegal act. Although the step she took could ruin the reputation of the company, it also benefited the public that was not aware of what was happening within the medical facility. Thus, Riviello is an excellent whistleblower and regardless of the rejections, she should remain as an admirable motivator to other Whistleblowers.
Whistleblower under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
Whistleblowers came to protection from public, private contractors and sub-contractors thanks to the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The ruling gave protection to any employee who would face a retaliation from the company they are working at in case they exposed unethical practices within an organization. Though it is an inflexible idea for the courts to authenticate, it is the responsibility of the law to guarantee that what the whistleblowers act within law (Blount, 2014). Additionally, the law must ensure that the Whistleblowers are protected from injustice practices before making a verdict.
Even though it is the role of whistleblowers to expose the unethical practices within an organization, they are also supposed to be conscious on what they are reporting. Reporting accurate information will vindicate whistleblowers and prevent being victimized. The introduction of Sarbanes-Oxley has provided with a pathway towards protection of whistleblowers. Employee whistleblowing has received a boost and therefore a reduction in fraud among most organizations.
Blount, D. (2014). VA Punishes Whistleblower Val Riviello. Retrieved from Right Wing News: http://rightwingnews.com/health/va-punishes-whistleblower-val-riviello/
Ensign. (2014). Whistleblower Ruling Means New Risk fo Private Companies. The Wall Street Journal, 1-34.
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