UK law recognises how important it is that employees ‘Blow the Whistle’ in circumstances in which they believe:
- The health and safety of any individual has been, is being, or is likely to be endangered.
- A person has failed, is failing, or is likely to fail to comply with a legal obligation.
- A criminal offence has been, is being, or is likely to be committed.
- A miscarriage of justice has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur.
- The environment has been, is being, or is likely to be damaged.
- Information showing the above has been, is being, or is likely to be deliberately concealed.
The law encourages employees to call public attention to such situations by protecting employees against all forms of recrimination from their employer.
The Public Interest Disclosure Act provides full protection for employees against all forms of recrimination by their employer consequent to the disclosure of any information to any party, provided the information passed was made:
- In good faith, and in the belief that the information is true.
- Without the purpose of personal gain.
- In the belief that if it were to have been disclosed directly to the employer that the employee would suffer detrimental treatment, that the evidence would be concealed or destroyed, or where a previous disclosure to the employer has not resulted in a suitable response.
This ‘protection’ is not restricted to employees and includes Agency staff and individual contractors as well.
Employees who are subjected to any form of detrimental treatment because of having made a “Protected Disclosure” can claim relief in employment tribunals. (Any dismissal would be automatically unfair and could also lead to a compensatory award or an order for re-employment.)
NB: Any agreement or Contract that attempts to prevent a ‘protected disclosure’ being properly made will be invalid.
Just because the law says that ‘whistleblowers’ are fully protected against recriminations doesn’t mean that recriminations won’t happen! It can be a rough road.
Find out more!