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Guide to Supporting Documents

The supporting document in this case are not as extensive as in some others, partly because the story is relatively straightforward, and partly because access to internal documents of Hughes Aircraft is unavailable. But instructors are encouraged to read the case history closely, since details occur in it that do not occur in the narrative of the case for students to read (and vice versa).

Case Narrative

The case narrative files have been reduced in complexity somewhat from the events as documented in the case history, in order to make the case more teachable in the classroom. But a full knowledge of the case can only come from reading both the narrative and the history. Here you will find the story of the actual court trials that took place and the outcome of those trials. The case narrative stops at the point where Goodearl and Aldred decided to blow the whistle.


To understand what happened to Goodearl and Aldred in any detail, it is useful to review the case narrative and history before reading these documents. This set of documents make clear the kinds of retaliation that can be inflicted upon whistleblowers, but they also provide some understanding of the laws protecting whistleblowers and the procedures that whistleblowers would be wise to undertake as they consider and follow through with their plans.

Timeline (PDF Format)

The timeline lists the most significant occurrences from the time that Ruth Aldred (1979) and Margaret Goodearl (1981) were hired to work at the Microelectronic Circuit Division of Hughes Aircraft until the final settlement of the civil case (1996). The skipping and falsifying of tests by Hughes employees that is the centerpiece of this case occurred between1985 and 1986. It took until December 1991 for the U.S. Department of Defense to charge Hughes in criminal court for fraud (Hughes was convicted in June 1996).

Useful Links

These links are primarily to sites that will help you understand the issues surrounding whistleblowing in general, rather than the specific case of Goodearl and Aldred vs Hughes. But there are some fine general resources here. Please do not take any items from the web as quality legal advice, but check with a lawyer who is experienced in whistleblowing cases and familiar with laws local to your jurisdiction.


As usual, we provide some reading for this case, and most of it is about general issues in whistleblowing. We try to flag the resources that we have found most useful.

Company Structure (PDF Format)

This is an organization chart specific to the case. It includes the individuals, and their job titles, that were involved and/or impacted by this case.