So, there's something seriously wrong at your workplace and you think it needs to get reported. But, you're afraid of the dangers involved with becoming a whistle blower. While there are undoubtedly risks involved in whistle blowing, history has shown that whistle blowers play an important part in society. These three inspiring whistle blowers should help give you the courage you need to perform this vital role.
Cheryl Eckard is an example of a whistle blower who actually received real rewards for her work. Eckard was an employee of GlaxoSmithKline who discovered that one of their plants in Puerto Rico was producing drugs that were infected with a bacteria that could cause urinary tract infections, meningitis, infections, and peritonitis.
Naturally, her employers denied this and fought her every step of the way. However, Eckard's hard work helped get the problematic plant shut down, led to the recall of the dangerous medications, and forced GlaxoSmithKline to pay $750 million to the people who took the infected drugs. For her efforts, Eckard received $96 million.
The story of Karen Silkwood is both inspiring and incredibly sad. Silkwood was a worker at a nuclear power plant in Oklahoma who was in charge of employee health and safety. Shockingly, she found that the plant, run by Kerr-McGee, were committing major violations that put the employees and the community at serious risk.
After she reported these violations to the Atomic Energy Commission, she grew incredibly sick with radiation exposure. Her home was found to be highly contaminated with plutonium. In spite of the obvious danger, she continued her whistle blowing efforts, but was found dead in car on the way to a meeting with the New York Times.
Silkwood's mysterious death was never proven to be related to Kerr-McGee, but her life still serves as a model of dedication for whistle blowers around the world.
Police are supposed to protect and serve the public, but a few bad apples can turn public servants into public enemies. Frank Serpico discovered this in the 60's, when he joined the New York City police department and found that corruption were rampant.
Serpico repeatedly tried to reveal this corruption, but was stymied by the bureaucracy of the investigation process and the cover-up efforts of his fellow officers. Eventually, an interview with the New York Times revealed the corruption and brought about major changes.
His efforts lead to the creation of the Knapp Commission, a group that investigates police corruption. However, Serpico was later shot in the face during a crime and left to die by his fellow officers. Thankfully, he survived and earned royalties from the book and film about his ordeal.
As you can see, being a whistle blower is a noble concept that may also be dangerous if done improperly. If you're concerned about your working conditions and want to become a whistle blower, talk to an employment lawyer (at John Franco Law or another company) as soon as possible. They can help you minimize the dangers associated with whistle blowing.