Kohn’s advice is not just to workers, nor is his aim to create an adversarial situation. In fact, his hope is clearly that more businesses will embrace workers who “do the right thing,” and negate the need for whistleblower protections. He writes that all employers have to decide “whether honesty and ethics are to be rewarded or whether outdated notions of loyalty, often demanded at the expense of safety or compliance with legal mandates, will govern the contemporary workplace.” He asks, “What company would not want a reasonable ‘heads-up’ so they could fix a problem before it became a major federal case?”
Examples of crises that could have been avoided if companies had heeded the warnings of whistleblowers are legion. Most recently, a U.S. Labor Department press release about a whistleblower retaliation award reveals that employees trying to report widespread fraud at the former Countrywide Financial Corp. were fired, as was the employee who tried to investigate those charges.
Security directors who want to increase the chances that insiders will have the courage to come forward should consider purchasing and distributing copies of this book or, at the very least, highlighting it in a corporate security newsletter or on their Web site.