Whistleblowing

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If you are a Whistleblower and have been dismissed as a result, then Blacks Solicitors’ expert Employment Law team can help.  

Protection for whistleblowers was introduced by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. This legislation protects a Whistleblower whose employer dismisses them or subjects them to a detriment on the ground that they have made a Protected Disclosure.

Whistleblowing claims are not subject to any qualifying period of employment – by contrast with normal unfair dismissal claims – nor is there a statutory cap on unfair dismissal compensation.

If you have made a Protected Disclosure and have been dismissed as a result, that dismissal may be automatically unfair and you could bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal.

In order to get the protection afforded to whistleblowers under this legislation, the information disclosed must tend to show that one of the following has occurred, is occurring, or is likely to occur:

  • The committing of a criminal offence
  • Breach of any legal obligation
  • A miscarriage of justice
  • A danger to the health and safety of any individual
  • Damage to the environment
  • The deliberate concealing of information about any of the above

A disclosure will only be a qualifying disclosure if you reasonably believe that the disclosure is “in the public interest”.

A Whistleblower should remember that:

  • Genuine concerns about illegal, unethical or dangerous practices should usually be raised internally in the first instance, and will ask if the employer has a whistleblowing policy
  • Information can be given to a statutory regulator (or other “prescribed person”) without telling the employer
  • Wider disclosure is more difficult to justify. In practice, disclosure to the media will only be protected in exceptional cases, and only if no payment is received for the “story”
  • Disclosures will only be protected if you reasonably believe that the disclosure is “in the public interest”

Whistleblowing is a very complex area of law which can have far-reaching consequences for an employee who makes a qualifying disclosure. As a consequence, legal advice should always be sought at an early stage.

 

For more information about how Blacks can help you, or for a free no obligation discussion, please email or call our Employment Law team today on 0113 207 0000.