According to the ethical codes of many engineering professional societies, engineers have an ethical duty to the public. For example, the ASME Code of Ethics states that engineers “shall hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public.” Licensed engineers (PE’s) have additional legal duties to the public imposed by state licensing agencies. Engineering regulations and ethics codes have been interpreted by many to include the duty to report illegal or unsafe conditions to governmental authorities. This paper investigates whistleblowing as it relates to engineers. This troublesome topic is investigated considering the ethical, legal, and practical implications for engineers who blow the whistle.

1.
Douglas Oliver, Whistle-Blowing Engineer, ASCE Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice. pp. 246–256, (Oct. 2003).
2.
Michel C. McFarland, “The Public Health, Safety and Welfare: An Analysis of Social Responsibilities of Engineers”, 169–170, Ethical Issues in Engineering, edited by Deborah G. Johnson, Prentice Hall, (1991).
3.
IEEE Code of Ethics, § 1.
4.
NSPE Code of Ethics, § II-1.
5.
NCEES Model Rules of Professional Conduct, § 240.15 (A) (1), (August 2004), available at http://www.ncees.org/introduction/about_ncees/ncees_model_rules.pdf.
6.
Utah Admin Code R156-22-601 (4), (2002)
7.
Mo. Code Regs. 4, § 30-2.010 (5) (2002)
8.
S.D. Admin. R. 20:38:20:01(1) (2002)
9.
NCEES Model Rules of Professional Conduct, § I (c)
10.
22 Tex. Admin. Code § 131.151 (a)
11.
N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 8, § 29.3 (a)(1), (2002)
12.
Alaska Admin. Code tit. 12 § 36.210 (b)(1), (2002)
13.
Neb. Admin. Code tit. 110, § 5.003.03 (i), (2002)
14.
La. Admin. Code 46, § LXI.2103 (B).
15.
N.D. Admin. Code § 28-03.1-01-04 (2002)
16.
61 FL ADC 61G15-19.001 (6)(l)
17.
Md. Regs. Code tit. 9, § 23.03.01(2002)
18.
Wash. Admin. Code § 196-27-020 (c)
19.
Nev. Admin. Code ch. 625, § 530 (1) (2002)
20.
NCEES Model Rules of Professional Conduct, § I (h), (August 2002)
21.
Idaho ADC § 10.01.02.005(.03) (2002)
22.
Miss. State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, Rules and Regulations of Procedure, § 17.01, (2005), available at <http://www.pepls.state.ms.us/web10.htm#17.0>
23.
NSPE Code of Ethics, § II-1 (1)
24.
Benita M. Beamon, Environmental and Sustainability Ethics in Supply Chain Management, Science and Engineering Ethics, vol. 11, pp. 221–234, (2005).
25.
Available at the web site: http://www.asme.org/ethics/.
26.
Dogged Engineer’s Efforts to Assess Shuttle Damage, New York Times, Sept. 26, 2003.
27.
Data would have given astronauts re-entry options, Florida Today, March 31, 2004.
28.
Douglas Oliver, NASA, Columbia, and the Engineering Profession, NSPE’s Engineering Time. May, 2004.
29.
http://www.carsonversusdoe.com/.
30.
Carson v. Dept. of Energy, MSPB Docket Nos. AT-1221-96-0948-W-3, AT-1221-98-0250-W-1, AT-1221-98-0623-W-1 (April 29, 1999). Available at http://www.carsonversusdoe.com/frame.html?eighttime.htm&1.
31.
Martin Andersen, Whistle-Blowers Keep the Faith, Insight Magazine, Feb. 6, 2002. Available at http://www.insightmag.com/main.cfm/include/detail/storyid/166151.html.
32.
Carson v. Dept. of Energy, MSPB Docket Nos. AT-1221-98-0250-P-3 and AT-1221-98-0250-P-3 (March 28, 2001).
33.
Frank Munger, Time for DOE to settle the Carson Case, Knoxville News Sentinel, (Oct. 4, 2000). Available at http://www.carsonversusdoe.com/frame.html?Time2.htm&1.
34.
La. Admin. Code 46, § LXI.2503 (B).
35.
Engineering Times, NSPE, Louisiana Society Inform Court of PE’s Public Safety Role, May, 2002.
36.
Monts v. Board of Supervisors of Louisiana State, 812 So.2d 787, 791 (La. App. 4 Cir., 2002).
37.
Jennie Ganz, Louisiana Society Inform Court of PE’s Public Safety Role, Engineering Times, (May 2002) available at http://www.nspe.org/etweb/15-02montscase.asp.
38.
See the web site: http://www1.cs.columbia.edu/~unger/monts/amicus.html.
39.
Evaluation finds Davis-Besse safety issues still need work, Associated Press, May 4, 2003.
40.
FirstEnergy is Slapped with $5.45M fine, Toledo Blade, April 22, 2005.
41.
$5,450,000 FINE FOR DAVIS-BESSE REACTOR VESSEL HEAD VIOLATIONS, NRC News, N. 05-070, April 21, 2005. Available at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/news/2005/05-070.html
42.
see NRC IA-05-0210 – Andrew Siemaszko, April 21, 2005.
43.
American Society of Civil Engineers: Standards of Professional Conduct, at 5 (April 3, 2000) available at the web site: http://www.asce.org/pdf/ethics_manual.pdf.
1.
Stephen Kohn, Concepts and Procedures in Whistleblower Law, Quorum Books (2001);
2.
Daniel P. Westman, Whistleblowing: The Law of Retaliatory Discharge, The Bureau of National Affairs, (1991)
1.
49 USCA § 42121
2.
30 USCA § 815 (c)
3.
5 USCA § 2302
4.
5 USCA § 1221
5.
31 USCA §§ 3729-33
6.
30 USCA § 815 (c)
7.
Kitty Kelly Shoe Corp. v. United Retail Employees, 9 A.2d 295 (N.J. Ch. 1939).
8.
Petermann v. International Broth. of Teamsters, 344 P.2d 25, (Cal. App. 1959)
9.
Gantt v. Sentry Insurance 824 P.2d 680, 684, (Cal., 1992).
10.
Esberg v. Union Oil Co. 47 P.3d 1069, 1075 (Cal., 2002)
11.
Sabetay v. Sterling Drug, Inc. 497 N.Y.S.2d 655, 658 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept., 1986)
1.
Taylor v. Foremost-McKesson, Inc., 656 F.2d 1029, (C.A.Ga., 1981).
2.
Goodroe v. Georgia Power Co. 251 S.E.2d 51 (Ga. App., 1978).
1.
Sabine Pilot Service, Inc. v. Hauck, 687 S.W.2d 733, (Tex., 1985).
2.
Austin v. Healthtrust, Inc. - The Hosp. Co., 951 S.W.2d 78, 80 (Tex. App.- Corpus Christi, 1997).
3.
Pierce v. Ortho Pharmaceutical Corp. 417 A.2d 505, 512 N.J., 1980
4.
Boyle v. Vista Eyewear, Inc. 700 S.W.2d 859, 871 (Mo. App. W.D. 1985).
5.
Rocky Mountain Hosp. and Medical Service v. Mariani, 916 P.2d 519 at 525 (Colo. 1996).
6.
Personal correspondence between Mr. Carson and the author.
7.
Appeal of Bio Energy Corp., 607, 608, A.2d 606, (N.H., 1992).
8.
Fla. Stat. ch. § 448.102 (1) (2002)
9.
N.Y. Labor § 707 (3)
10.
Mich. Stat. § 15.362 (2002).
11.
Monts v. Board of Supervisors of Louisiana State, 812 So.2d 787 (La. App. 4 Cir., 2002).
12.
Black’s Law Dictionary (7th ed. 1999), whistleblower.
13.
Mehlman v. Mobil Oil Corp., 707 A.2d 1000, 1015-16, (N.J., 1998).
14.
Bordell v. General Elec. Co. 667 N.E. 2d 922, (N.Y., 1996).
15.
Fla. Stat. ch. § 448.101 (3) (2002)
16.
U.S. ex rel. McVey v. Board of Regents of University, 165 F. Supp. 2d 1052, 1056 (N.D. Cal., 2001)
17.
C. Fred Alford, Whistleblowers: Broken Lives and Organizational Power, Cornell Univ. Press (2001) at pg. 126.
18.
Mont. Rev. Code § 39-2-903 (2002)
19.
C. Fred Alford, Whistleblowers: Broken Lives and Organizational Power, Cornell Univ. Press (2001) at pg. 123.
20.
NRC IA-05-0210 – Andrew Siemaszko, April 21, 2005
21.
The Whistle-blower’s Dilemma, IEEE Spectrum, April 2004 available at http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/WEBONLY/resource/apr04/0404care.html.
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