Ethical Dilemma and Facts
Ethics officers should protect the anonymity of whistleblowers despite implications to the firm. An ethical officer should ascertain that the information supplied by the informant is accurate and a clear violation of the company’s code of conduct (Hoekstra & Talsma, 2020). A clear understanding of the federal laws regarding external reporting and its effects on the firm’s reputation and performance is vital to making the decision (King, 2022). The officer should also consider the severity of the wrongdoing and its impact on the firm.
Solving the Dilemma Creatively
The ethics officer can either choose to shield the whistleblower or take sides with the company to prevent complex legal procedures. The ethics officer can determine the degree of the wrongdoing and its implications to determine the proper way of handling the issue, whether within the organization or in court (Hoekstra & Talsma, 2020). Protecting the reporter’s confidentiality is vital to the firm as the state has laws that shield whistleblowers from incrimination if they detect their privacy violations within the company.
Duties of an Ethics Officer
The ethics officer has an obligation to protect the interest of the firm’s shareholders. Shareholders invest their wealth in the company, and the firm’s decisions affect share prices (Hoekstra & Talsma, 2020). The officer also has duties to customers as they are the buyers of the firm’s products, and ethical choices may influence their loyalty (Hoekstra & Talsma, 2020). The ethics officer has a duty to employees and should protect their interests to enhance motivation and talent retention.
The Consequence of either Decision
The action of an ethics officer has various consequences for the firm and stakeholders. Protecting the whistleblower will build trust between the ethics trust and employees, enhancing ethical practice within the firm (King, 2022). Furthermore, the firm can sustain control on the issue, preventing it from escalating. Shielding the firm to avert legal action may cause the whistleblower to resort to external reporting, resulting in sanctions for the firm (King, 2022). The decision will cause the firm’s integrity to be questioned by employees and outsiders, destroying its reputation.
Hoekstra, A., & Talsma, J. (2020). Introducing a new key player in internal whistleblowing procedures: Examining the position of confidential advisers. Public Integrity, 23(1), 52–67. Web.
King, M. (2022). Doing the right thing: It is in our power to act and not to act. Issues in Business Ethics, 441–464. Web.