Landing : Athabascau University

Week 1 - Weekly Consideration - A Moral Obligation

A Moral Obligation

The question raised this week is whether or not I have a moral obligation to turn in my employer if they are violating government regulations or laws. The first question I would have to raise is: what is the context in which my company would be violating any legislation? Laws are man-made and if history can dictate anything it would be that laws are not perfect and in some circumstances can be out-dated or even unjust. 

So I would have to answer this question in a matter of circumstance. If my employer was violating laws that in turn violated the very good of human nature, such as exploiting humans or the environment in which their actions would have a negative impact on others, then yes I think one would have a moral obligation to whistle blow this activity. 

However, what if the circumstance was different? What if the company was not complying with an old or unjust law? Was taking a stand or trying to do better but was just not in compliance of current regulations? Even today there are many laws that one would not think have any moral obligations to. 

This reminds me of one example that under federal law there was The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) which dictated that 35% of all content played on the radio must be Canadian. I believe the intention with this law was to protect Canadian culture and encourage art within Canada. But does this in fact shelter Canadians from other types of music and forces them to hear. Canada by population is significantly smaller than the US, so it is only understandable that we pump out less music than our neighbours. With the internet and the vast availability of music is this law still providing any benefit or is it actually harming our right to spread a wide variety of music through radio stations? 

I think that non-disclosure agreements are only applicable as long as the company actions are within the law. In the eyes of the law you have every right and protection as a whistle blower to notify the authorities. As stated under The Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act, the intention of the act is to: 

 (a) to facilitate the disclosure and investigation of significant and serious matters in or relating to the public service, that are potentially unlawful, dangerous to the public or injurious to the public interest; and

(b) to protect persons who make those disclosures. 

(Manitoba Laws, 2015)

I think this law is intended to protect those who are disclosing sensitive information for the betterment of public safety and well-being. I've included some readings below on the acts and confidentiality agreements if anyone is interested. Please share your thoughts on this act and if you think confidentiality agreements don't apply if they break the law.