Spotlight on History’s Famous Whistleblowers
Authorities rely on whistleblowers to uncover fraudulent or wrongful acts committed by corporations and government agencies. Many whistleblowers are individuals motivated by a strong sense of professional ethics. While most cases of whistleblowing never become headline news, there have been quite a few famous ones over the years.
Jeffrey Wigand was a high-level executive with Brown and Williamson, a major tobacco company. In the mid-90s, Wigand sat for an interview with 60 Minutes, during which he made public disclosures about the tobacco industry’s manipulation of nicotine levels, which made cigarettes more addictive. This came during a time when tobacco executives were insisting that cigarettes were not addictive during testimony given to Congress. After his interview, Wigand was compelled to give a deposition. The public disclosures resulted in a historic $368 billion settlement and subsequent tobacco law reforms.
Frank Serpico was a New York City police officer who, during the 1970s, blew the whistle on police corruption. During his career, Serpico had witnessed numerous acts of bribery. Criminals, including drug dealers and thugs, bribed his fellow officers to look the other way. Serpico refused to participate and instead alerted his superiors to the problem. When his superiors ignored the complaints, Serpico made a public disclosure on the front page of The New York Times.
Bunny Greenhouse had been in charge of procurement for the Army Corps of Engineers. In 2003, a secret, no-bid contract worth billions of dollars was awarded to Halliburton for the repair of Iraqi oil fields. Greenhouse’s whistleblowing resulted in an act of retaliation; she was removed from her position. However, Greenhouse eventually won her legal battle. She was awarded compensation and as a result of her public disclosures, reforms were enacted to prevent no-bid contracts.
The attorneys at Mesch Clark Rothschild have extensive experience representing clients involved with whistleblower actions and complaints of whistleblower retaliation. We provide vigorous representation and actionable guidance that assists clients in moving toward a swift resolution. Call our law firm in Tucson at (520) 624-8886 to request an appointment with an employment law attorney.