In Europe, since the 1990s, many people who started these alerts have been threatened or pursued by their employer or others, prompting associative movements or to request the establishment of legislation to protect whistleblowers, drawing from existing law in various countries, including the United States on this issue. The Grenelle Environment Forum, in 2007, proposed a legal protection of whistleblowers. The federal government of Canada has a law on the Public Servants Disclosure Protection of reprisal acts was amended in 2007.
Public Concern At Work, the whistleblowing charity, is the leading authority in the field. We aim to protect society by encouraging workplace whistleblowing.
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The Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law, 43 P.S. § 1422 (1986),specifically includes in the list of wrongdoing that a whistleblowercan report:Unfortunately, only employees of the Pennsylvania state and local governmentsare protected by this statute.
Most wrongful discharge cases are filled in state court,under either the state's common law (e.g., the public-policy exception toan employer's ability to discharge an at-will employee for any reasonor no reason at all) or a state whistle-blower statute.
Failure to provide a written statement of reason(s) at the time of termination or nonrenewal shall be considered an admission by the employer that the termination or nonrenewal was for impermissible motives.
In another case, a non-union employee of a railroad alleged thathis employment was terminated because "he refused to manipulateand adjust sampling results used forpollution control reports which were filed with the state" government.
I did a search of the WESTLAW database on1 June 2000 for cases in all fifty state supreme courtssince 1945 that contained both the phrases "wrongful discharge" and"whistle-blower" half of the cases were since April 1995.
As the bill's sponsor stated, CEPA's enactment is"important to all New Jersey workers who are concerned about workingin a safe environment with honest employers." Linda Lamendola,Safeguards Enacted for "Whistleblowers", Sept. 8, 1986, at 1.
That law protects "whistleblowers,""who, believing that the public interest overrides the interest of theorganization he [or she] serves, publicly 'blows the whistle' if theorganization is involved in corrupt, illegal, fraudulent, or harmfulactivity." Ralph Nader et al., vii (Ralph Nader et al.,eds., 1972).
A typical whistle-blower statute (e.g., 5 USC § 1213)is designed to protect employees who report:While such statutes serve an important and vital purpose, the topic of thisessay is limited to discussing freedom of learned professionals,specifically the right of a professional to object to and to refuse to do an ethical act.
Unfortunately, the federal and state law in the USA today allow managers to terminate the employment of competent professionals,because the professionals have personality, mannerisms,or opinions that irritate their manager.
I have recently returned from a fascinating trip to Bosnia and Serbia. Among other things, I attended a conference on whistleblowing in Belgrade. There the country´s prime minister spoke and encouraged the efforts to protect whistleblowers. He then did something very rare for leaders to do – he sat in the audience and listened to other speakers – whistleblowers describing their experiences. The country is celebrating its new whistleblower protection law.
Judicial reluctance to alter the absolute nature of at-will employmenthas restricted the availability of judicial remedies forwrongful discharge in the USA,with the consequence that prudent employees will follow the three monkey rule(i.e., hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil)in order to avoid termination of their employment.
The process of developing thepublic-policy exception to at-will employmentaccelerated during the 1980s and 1990s, not only with judicial recognitionof public policy, but also legislatures passing statutes providingwhistleblowers with protection from retaliatory discharge.