Summary of The Corporate Whistleblower's Survival Guide

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Rating

9

Qualities

  • Innovative
  • Applicable

Recommendation

Whistleblowers travel a difficult and sometimes dangerous road. In their book, Tom Devine and Tarek F. Maassarani teach you how to report corporate crime and protect yourself in the process. Dr. Jeffrey Wigand – the famous whistleblower whose scientific testimony severely damaged tobacco companies – suggests replacing the term “whistleblower” with “Person of Conscience.” No matter what you call them, whistleblowers often bravely sacrifice their careers, livelihoods, equanimity and sometimes even their physical well-being to reveal private or public malfeasance. While most companies are honest, research shows that half of all employees witness corporate misdeeds. However, 40% do not do anything about what they've learned. This permits miscreants to do tremendous harm to their companies and it deprives law enforcement of its most powerful weapon: "crime reports by individuals." getAbstract suggests this informative, case-filled book to would-be whistleblowers who need to learn how to safeguard themselves, and to corporate leaders who should know that “it is bad business to kill or silence the messenger.” And, of course, cheers to corporations that walk the straight and narrow, and needn’t fear the sound of the whistle blowing.

About the Authors

Tom Devine is the legal director of the Government Accountability Project and a member of the Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame. Tarek F. Maassarani is a former Government Accountability Project investigator. He now teaches at the George Washington University.

 

Summary

Jeff Wigand Versus the Tobacco Industry

In 1988, Dr. Jeffrey Wigand went to work as the director of research and development at the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation. He understood his job would be to help create a cigarette that would be less damaging to smokers’ health. But after joining the cigarette giant, Wigand quickly learned that his role was – appropriately enough – a smokescreen. B&W hired Wigand and other scientists simply to provide legal cover against smokers’ lawsuits. In 1993, B&W fired Wigand because of his work studying the deleterious effects of cigarette additives. It also threatened him with the loss of his severance unless he agreed to a confidentiality agreement.

But B&W, which eventually spent “more than $8 billion” to discredit Wigand, had bullied the wrong scientist. Wigand soon hooked up with investigative reporters for a US television news program. Partly based on his testimony in the tobacco industry trials, in 1998, 39 US state attorneys forced the four biggest American cigarette companies to pay $206 billion to plaintiffs.

Yet Wigand paid an enormous personal price for his whistleblowing: The scientist received...


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