There is legislation to protect employees if they ‘blow the whistle’ on their employer. If an employee is dismissed because they have ‘blown the whistle’ their dismissal is considered unfair.

Unlawful Detriment

Furthermore, employees are also entitled to be protected from any unlawful detriment such as:

  • threats, disciplinary action
  • loss of work or pay
  • damage to career prospects

There are benefits in bringing a claim for unfair dismissal in relation to whistle blowing.  The reason is that it disregards the condition to have been employed by your employer for two years and removes the cap on damages.

Blowing the Whistle – what does it mean?

Blowing the whistle is formally known as making a protected disclosure. Only certain disclosures are classed as protected. They are:

  • A criminal offence.
  • Breach of any legal obligation.
  • Miscarriage of justice.
  • Danger to the health and safety of any individual.
  • Damage to the environment.
  • The deliberate concealing of information about any of the above.

The law about protected disclosures is contained within the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (the “Act”). The Act encourages employees to make the disclosures to their employer.

However, certain disclosures to third-parties are also protected such as:

  • the HMRC,
  • the Health and Safety Executive,
  • the Office of Fair Trading,
  • the Charity Commission,
  • Members of Parliament and certain industry regulators.

Why is it important for Employers to Protect Whistleblowers?

All employers should have a formal whistle blowing policy in place. This will help avoid unfair dismissal claims against them and the subsequent costs involved. Added to this whistle blowing helps avoid bad practice, reputation damage and aspects of potential unlawful actions and criminal behaviour.

What should a Whistleblowing Policy include?

The policy should set out the procedure for reporting any issues. If the the issue relates to their direct line manager they should be able to report the matter to another manager.

It is important that the policy be known and accessible by all employees.

Finally, it is important that if a protected disclosure is made that it is investigated properly by the employer and the whistle blower informed of the progress of the investigation.

If you have any queries on any of these issues contact our team of employment solicitors.