After reading the Fraud Magazine article about Tony Menendez, what seems most striking is the disparity that exists between the legal recognition that unlawful business practices are negative and damaging, and the lack of legal support and protection for the individuals who seek to expose and combat such practices.
Tony Menendez’ experience highlights the value of whistleblowing as a tool for social responsibility and ethics, indicating the way in which whistleblowers support the legal sanctions and policies designed to protect the interests of the public. However, his experience also makes clear that the law gives more support to the powerful private corporations who are breaking the law, than to the individuals who seek to support it. Menendez describes how the reactions of his superiors to the idea that they were violating regulations was to encourage silence, covert action, and concealment: he was told “I had to recognize the political realities at Halliburton or get run over by them” (Carozza, 2016, n.p.). Despite the clear ethical violation such practices entailed and the implicit threat of that attitude to Menendez himself, his battle nevertheless ended up being one which defended his right to comply with the ethical codes laid out by both SEC and Halliburton’s own written policies. These seems oxymoronic: there is little point in having such policies if there is no encouragement and even positive discouragement for people to adhere to them.
Menendez is quoted as stating that “more corporations are working hard to create more effective work environments. I think more companies are embracing individuals for their honesty and integrity” (Carozza, 2016, n.p.); his optimistic assessment indicates the way in which organizations would benefit from reappraisal of the qualities of whistleblowers and their value to positive business practices.
In complying with the laws and regulations of business, organizations and corporations can benefit their reputation, improve their business, and create strong and positive working environments. Tony Menendez’ story illustrates the positive role that whistleblowers can play in such a constructive working environment.
- Carozza, D. (2016, May/June). “He Fought Halliburton and Won.” Fraud Magazine. Retrieved from: http://www.fraud-magazine.com/article.aspx?id=4294992668.