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Notable Whistleblowers since 2020

What the below cases show is the sometimes retaliatory behaviour against whistleblowers made by the organisations reported upon. It highlights the clear requirement to protect whistleblowers with encryption and anonymous messaging. It can also be seen that there is a trend in technology companies and when relationships between the whistleblower and the company in question fail, the likelihood of both getting entrenched into their postions with counter allegations makes the situation even worse. It is never good for an organisation that is huge, to be seen treating a single person badly – including by dismissing them. The approach, even if it is just to protect the organisations social standing, should be to mediate.

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2020Paul LackeyMaleNikola CorporationExposed a fraud scheme misleading investors into thinking they had working EVs. Testified at Trevor Milton‘s trial.
2020Valérie MuratFemaleVins de Bordeaux labeled HVE – CIVBValérie Murat, a founder and spokesperson for “Alerte aux Toxiques!” (Toxic alert!) in France was prosecuted for denigration in the fall 2020 by the Interprofessional Council of Bordeaux Wine (CIVB) and 26 other complainants. The complaint came after Murat spoke out about the toxic nature of conventional wine-growing practices in the Bordeaux region to produce wines labeled HVE or sold as environmentally friendly in France. CIVB argues that the remarks made by Murat are denigrating and undermine the good reputation of Bordeaux wines. The legal action includes 125,000 euros in compensatory damages.
2020Amar BenmohamedMalePolice racism and abuses in Paris High CourthouseA chief brigadier, he witnessed hundreds of cases of abuse and racism in the cells of the Paris high court back in 2017. After raising his concerns internally, he testified publicly in the media outlet StreetPress to denounce these abuses. He suffered significant retaliation from his superiors for speaking out. At the end of January 2022, he received a second warning for testifying to deputies of the French National Assembly in February 2021 at the invitation of the French NGO Maison des Lanceurs d’Alerte.
2020Rick BrightMaleUnited States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)Bright, the director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), alleged that the Trump administration ignored his early warnings about the COVID-19 pandemic and illegally retaliated against him by ousting him from his role. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel determined that Bright had been illegally retaliated against.
2020Ifeoma OzomaAerica Shimizu BanksFemalePinterestReported Pinterest to the state of California for systemic racism and sexism. Ozoma also brought a law to California that protect’s whistleblower right to speak out.
2020Thomas le BonniecMaleAppleReported Apple to the EU for privacy violations for collecting invasive and excessive recordings made via Siri without users’s knowledge or consent.
2020Lindsey GuldenFemaleExxonReported Exxon to OSHA for illegal termination related to being pressured into inflate profitability.
2020Emily CunninghamMaren CostaFemaleAmazonFiled charges with the NLRB which were settled with undisclosed terms after a demand for Amazon to improve its environmental impact.
2020Chris SmallsMaleAmazonProtested Amazon’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic and was terminated for violating the company’s pandemic safety protocols. He said he never went in the building during the demonstration. New York City’s Commission on Human Rights investigated his firing.
2020Alexandra AbramsFemaleBlue OriginShe was fired from her job for allegedly violating federal export control regulations. She denies receiving any warnings and alleges she was fired for resisting changes to employment contract involving arbitration clauses. Published an essay authored with 20 other anonymous employees alleging a toxic, sexist work environment and safety concerns. Reported the company to the FAA.
2020Rebekah JonesFemaleFlorida Department of HealthAfter being fired for insubordination, accused Florida DOH officials of ordering her to delete or manipulate data in the state’s public COVID-19 dashboard to support Governor Ron DeSantis’s reopening plan. Also accused Ron DeSantis of misleading the public about the state’s vaccination data and pressuring the DOH office into recommending premature readiness. Her allegations against DOH were dismissed; found to be unfounded or unsubstantiate, exonerating DOH officials. After her retaliation and whistleblower complaints against DOH were dismissed, she posted a forged document claiming to be vindicated. Other anonymous employees supported her claims that Ron DeSantis’s office was pressuring their agency, ignoring their epidemiologists, and later reports confirmed that he was misrepresenting the state’s vaccination rates.
2020Sophie ZhangFemaleFacebookWrote a memo that was leaked to BuzzFeed News after being fired for poor performance. She had raised concerns internally about issues with political manipulation on the site that were ignored. Was invited to speak to international governments to advise on regulations to limit the harms of social media.
2020-2021Frances HaugenFemaleFacebookFrances Haugen, formerly a product manager in the civic integrity department at Facebook, disclosed thousands of internal documents related to user research and impact, special policy exceptions for high-profile users, and hate speech, among others, to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Wall Street Journal, in a leak termed the Facebook Files.
2021Chanin Kelly-RaeFemaleAmazonQuit her role as Amazon Web Services’ global manager of diversity due to what she alleged to be racial biases. Was the only person who spoke to Recode on the record out of a dozen interviewed.
2021Alex VlasovMaleJamie SpearsWas hired to spy on Britney Spears during her father’s oppressive conservatorship.
2021Ashley GjøvikFemaleAppleAshley Gjøvik was a senior program manager at Apple for six years. In 2021, she raised concerns about environmental contamination at her office in Sunnyvale, California, violations of employee privacy, harassment, and retaliation. She was later terminated that same year for allegedly leaking confidential intellectual property, which she denies, alleging her firing was retaliatory for publicising her concerns.
2021Janneke ParrishFemaleAppleFired from Apple after raising concerns regarding a discriminatory work culture for failing to comply with an investigation into the leak of a company-wide meeting. Filed a charge with the NLRB alleging it was retaliation for leading #AppleToo.
2021Cher ScarlettFemaleAppleReported Apple to the NLRB alleging suppression of worker organizing and discussions about pay. Also reported Apple to the SEC for allegedly misleading the agency in a filing about using concealment clauses in exit packages to silence victims of harassment and discrimination. Violated an NDA to share the details of an agreement with the Financial Times to expose what she believed to be proof. Her actions prompted 8 state treasurers to call on the SEC to investigate.
2021Timnit GebruFemaleGoogleWas forced out of Google after refusing to retract a research paper that warned of dangers of large natural language process models in machine learning.
2021Elyse OsterweilMartin Phillips (scientist)Sarah Gallagher (scientist)William Irwin (scientist)FemaleEPAReported management and tenured staff manipulated chemical assessments to downplay hazardousness, which in some cases led to potentially dangerous chemical exposure.
2021Simon LatimerMaleWorld AquaticsIn December 2021 Simon Latimer wrote a formal whistleblower complaint to FINA’s Chief Executive Brent Nowicki accusing FINA’s vice president, Zhou Jihong from China, of unethical behavior. Latimer alleged that Zhou manipulated judging panels and bullied judges in the diving events at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Zhou was subsequently ordered by FINA’s Ethics Panel to apologise for complaints about her behavior and a recommendation was made to disestablish her position. Latimer also claimed that Zhou’s unethical behaviour extended to coaching Chinese divers at the 2020 Olympic Games while concurrently a FINA Vice President and this was corroborated by video evidence.
2022Peiter ZatkoMaleTwitterPeiter “Mudge” Zatko served as Twitter’s Chief Security Officer from July 2020 until he was terminated in January 2022 for what Twitter alleged to be poor performance. In August 2022, Zatko alleged that his termination was retaliatory for refusing to cover up security vulnerabilities and the contents of a 200-page whistleblower complaint to the SEC was published by CNN and The Washington Post.
2022Mark MacGannMaleUberServed as Uber’s European lobbyist from 2014 to 2016. Says he quit because he had ethical issues and that Uber’s culture was not a safe place to challenge bad practices without fear of retaliation that put his family at risk. He shared 124,000 confidential documents with The Guardian and IJIC. The documents showed that between 2013 and 2017 the company lobbied international governments for favors, utilized a kill switch to inhibit government access to documents, made investment deals with Russia, and exploited victims of violence for favorable regulations.
2022Megan MohrChris DeaverOrit MizrachiMargaret Anderson (whistleblower)Jayna Whitt, “Emily”FemaleAppleSpoke out to the Financial Times about a culture of secrecy, harassment, retaliation, hostility, and sexism. They also alleged inaction, toxicity, and apathy from HR and management. They also highlighted an apparent practice of pushing victims out of the company with small severance packages with silencing clauses.
2022Steven Marshall (whistleblower)MaleQueensland Police ServiceReleased tapes of allegedly racist and misogynistic statements made by Queensland police.