COVID-19 whistleblowers are one of the world’s greatest assets right now, but sadly, they’re not being fully protected. In some cases, they’re being publicly fired just for speaking out against gross mishandling of resources and support.
It’s not just in one area, either. Whistleblowers that are trying to make things safer for essential workers, customers and patients are being punished throughout the world.
Whistleblower Rights Ignored
In countries with whistleblower laws, COVID-19 whistleblowers are quickly finding those laws are being ignored. In Italy, the US and the UK, many of those working on the frontlines have been fired when they’ve tried to report unethical practices that are risking the lives of the workers and patients. They’re being called liars even when they have undeniable proof.
Retaliation is always a problem when it comes to whistleblowers, but it’s also something employers usually try to hide. In this instance, employees are being fired publicly and employers don’t seem to care if anyone knows.
Countries Without Whistleblower Protections
In China, Poland and other countries that don’t have whistleblower protection laws in place, it’s even worse. Speaking up is a guarantee of losing your job and possibly even going to prison. All of this simply for trying to protect people during a global pandemic.
COVID-19 Whistleblowers Are Essential
The public deserves to know the truth about COVID-19. Employees also deserve to be treated with respect and provided with everything possible in order to do their jobs safely. While some protection equipment is in short supply, some employers are doing nothing to provide any alternatives. Some may even try to force employees to work when they’re sick, causing the virus to spread even more.
Businesses and healthcare facilities need COVID-19 whistleblowers to ensure safer working environments. Instead of silencing them, listen to them. This can help slow and even stop the spread of a deadly virus. Even though they’re essential, no one seems to want to listen. A few instances where whistleblower information was quickly silenced or they were retaliated against include:
· Doctors in China were arrested for trying to tell the public about coronavirus
· Employees working at NYU Langone Health System were threatened with their jobs if they talked to the media
· In India, someone was fired simply for expressing concerns over a possibly sick patient that wanted to travel without getting tested first
These are just a few of the many examples. From expressing simple concerns to asking for better protections, businesses and governments are retaliating. The general public is too afraid to get involved, especially when they’re dealing with their own daily struggles.
COVID-19 Whistleblowers Encouraged (In Some Cases)
While it seems like COVID-19 whistleblowers are being encouraged to keep silent, in some cases, they’re encouraged to speak up. When it comes to finances, the SEC, IRS and CFTC are all asking whistleblowers to continue filing reports about fraud, insider trading and various scams. OSHA is also asking all employees to please speak up if their employer isn’t providing a safe working environment. The organization is reminding people that they do have the right to speak up safely and will be protected.
More than ever whistleblowers need protection. They also need to speak up to protect everyone, even if it means fighting a wrongful termination lawsuit later.