Organizational Hostility toward Whistleblowers

By Yeargain, John W.; Kessler, Lara L. | Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues, January 1, 2010 | Go to article overview

Organizational Hostility toward Whistleblowers

Yeargain, John W., Kessler, Lara L., Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues


This paper examines hostile reactions toward whistleblowers who report violations of laws, rules, or regulations. This is an inherent organizational characteristic. We punish those who tell the truth if it causes embarrassment to the organization or exposes it to punishment. Some studies have tried to determine why members of organizations react in this manner. Others have suggested that the best way to avoid embarrassment by whistleblowers is to have a strong compliance program within the organization to react positively to such reports.


There are various methods of discouraging those who wish to report an act that is a violation of a law, a regulation, or a rule. The easiest way is to order them not to speak or make a statement. If the order is ignored the supervisor can make an example of the whistleblowers by taking adverse actions against them. These adverse actions are noted by others in similar positions as a warning not to take similar actions in the future.


Lucia Paccione worked as a sales representative for Cephalon Inc., a drug manufacturer. She claimed she was fired for expressing her concerns to her immediate supervisor regarding the illegal off label marketing of drugs. Off label marketing is the selling of drugs for purposes not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Despite the FDA's letter, sent to Cephalon in 2002, which warned the company not to continue to promote one of its drugs off label, the company continued to do so. Prosecutors contended in court papers filed against the company that it trained its sales personnel to disregard FDA restrictions and structured its sales quota and bonuses so that sales representatives could not reach their sales goals unless they sold the drugs for off label uses (Duffy, 2008) The company agreed to pay $375 million to settle False Claims Act claims by Medicaid and Medicare and pay $50 million in fines. In addition, it paid Ms. Paccione over $46 million. She in turn agreed to split the sum with three other whistleblowers (Duffy).

John Marti, the first assistant prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney in Minnesota, was demoted for reporting his boss, Rachel Paulóse, for careless handling of classified homeland security reports. In retaliation, Paulóse had Marti removed as her first assistant and demoted to Assistant U.S. Attorney. The Office of Special Counsel confirmed Paulóse' s actions and awarded Marti back pay, a lump sum payment and any negative references removed from his personnel records (Karnowski, 2008).

In 2006, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a public employee could be disciplined for doing his job. Richard Ceballos was a supervising deputy district attorney for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. He had been employed there since 1989. He was a calendar deputy in the Pomona branch with some supervisory duties over other attorneys. In February 2000, a defense attorney asked him about incorrect descriptions in an affidavit used to obtain a search warrant. Ceballos claimed that it was normal for defense attorneys to ask calendar deputies to look into elements of pending cases. The defense attorney had already filed a motion to challenge the warrant.

After reviewing the affidavit and visiting the location described in the affidavit, Ceballos concluded the affidavit had made critical misrepresentations. What the affidavit described as a long driveway, Ceballos thought should have been described as a separate roadway. He also doubted the affiant's assertion that tire tracks led from a derelict truck to the premises to be searched because the surface of the roadway made it difficult to leave visible tire tracks (Garcetti, 1955).

After speaking by phone with the deputy sheriff who had applied for the warrant and not receiving an explanation with which he was comfortable, Ceballos informed his supervisors and prepared a memorandum in which he recommended dismissal of the case. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Organizational Hostility toward Whistleblowers


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    New feature

    It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia, and in an effort to make Questia easier to use for those people, we have added a new choice of font to the Reader. That font is called OpenDyslexic, and has been designed to help with some of the symptoms of dyslexia. For more information on this font, please visit

    To use OpenDyslexic, choose it from the Typeface list in Font settings.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search


    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.