You can speak out if you find malpractice going on at your place of work.

What is Whistleblowing?

If you find out about your employer being involved unlawful practices or wrongdoings, you may ‘blow the whistle’. You can be protected in certain circumstances under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA). This law specifically exists to protect employees who expose wrongdoing when their information is in the public interest.

It is, however, very complex depending on the circumstances of each case. Under the PIDA, you will be given a framework where you can firstly make a disclosure in the public interest about your boss, company or colleagues and secondly, it protects you against victimisation from your employer.

The information relating to a past, present or future wrongdoing must relate to one of the following:

• Danger to someone’s health and safety
• Criminal offences (such as fraud)
• Damage to the environment
• A miscarriage of justice
• Breaching a legal obligation
• Or deliberate attempts to cover up any of the above

As of June 25th 2013, each disclosure that is made must be with the reasonable belief that it is in the public interest to do so. In other words, you must be disclosing this information because it’s clearly wrong – not because you’ve had a row with your employer.

In order to claim protection under the PIDA You would have to show three things:

• That you have made an actual disclosure
• That you have followed the correct disclosure procedure
• That you were dismissed or suffered because you made the disclosure

The PIDA states it is unlawful to be dismissed or punished in any way for passing on information where you think there is serious misconduct going on in the workplace. It is not necessary for the wrongdoing to actually occur as long as you have a reasonable belief and information which suggests it has.

Claiming for Whistleblowing

Am I eligible to claim for Whistleblowing?

There are some conditions that have to be satisfied in order for your disclosure to be protected. The first presumption is that the complaint must be raised with your employer first. If you cannot go to your employer then you should go to a prescribed person i.e. if your information was concerning a health and safety issue you could approach the health and safety officer.

If you ‘blow the whistle’ and are dismissed from your job you may be able to claim unfair dismissal.

If a case goes to a Tribunal where it is ruled that you have made it in ‘bad faith’, the Tribunal has the power to reduce your compensatory award by up to 25%.

What to do if you are victimised due to Whistleblowing

In cases relating to whistleblowing, employers will usually argue that the treatment of the employee was for another reason such as their performance, alleged misconduct or a genuine redundancy. Get in touch with one of our team who can offer advice on the right course of action if this happens to you.

If you’ve been dismissed or suffered a detriment at work as a result of whistleblowing, please contact our expert employment advisors who will be on hand to provide you with the best possible advice and guidance – all done in the strictest confidence.

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