Such as obligations of confidentiality and loyalty cannot take precedence over the fundamental duty to act in ways that prevent unnecessary harm to others.Agreements to keep something secret have no moral standing unless the secret is itself morally justifiable.People who argue this way see no difference between employees who reveal trade secrets by selling information to competitors, and whistle – blowers who disclose activities harmful to others.
Same as if the employees of a company know that it is engaged in illegal or immoral activities and do not take action, including whistle blowing, to end the activities, then they must bear some of the guilt for the actions.
These in turn cancel the principles that one should refrain from blowing the whistle because speaking out would cause harm to the organization.
Under what circumstances, if any, is whistle blowing morally justified?
Some people have argued that whistle blowing is never justified because employees have absolute obligations of confidentiality and loyalty to the organization for which they work.
Unless it can be shown that the harm to the employees and stockholders would be significantly greater than the harm caused by the organizational wrong doing, the obligation to avoid unnecessary harm to the public must come first.
This must be true even when there is specific agreements not to speak out.
Corporations in democratic societies are run with the expectations that they will function in ways that are compatible with the public interest.
Corporations in democratic societies are also run with the expectations that they will not only obey the law governing their activities, but will not do anything that undermines basic democratic processes, such as bribing public officials.
For example a no person can have an obligation to keep a secret of a plot to murder someone, because murder is an immoral act.
It is for this reason also that employees have a legal obligation to report an employer who has committed or is about to commit a felony.