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Whistleblowing

Updating authors: Laura Conway and Matthew Perry, Wedlake Bell

Summary

  • Workers who "blow the whistle" by making a protected disclosure, ie a disclosure concerning an alleged criminal offence or other prescribed wrongdoing, have the legal right not to be dismissed or subjected to any other detriment for having done so. (See Legal background and Meaning of "protected disclosure")
  • The statutory protection applies where a worker makes a disclosure about an employer's alleged wrongdoing that, in the reasonable belief of the worker, is made in the public interest and is made either directly to the employer or to another person that the worker reasonably believes is responsible for the wrongdoing. (See Disclosure to employer or other responsible person)
  • In certain circumstances, workers may make protected disclosures to prescribed bodies such as the Health and Safety Executive, the Information Commissioner, HM Revenue and Customs, the Environment Agency and the Serious Fraud Office. (See Disclosure to the appropriate authorities)
  • Workers who make a disclosure concerning an alleged criminal offence or other prescribed wrongdoing to a person or body (other than their employer or a prescribed body) will be protected from dismissal or any other detriment if they reasonably believe that the disclosure is substantially true and it is reasonable for them to make the disclosure to that person or body. (See Disclosure in other cases)
  • Workers who make a disclosure about an exceptionally serious failure to a person or body (other than their employer or a prescribed body) will be protected from dismissal or any other detriment if they reasonably believe that the disclosure is substantially true and they act reasonably and responsibly in making that disclosure. (See Disclosures about exceptionally serious failures)
  • The right of a worker not to be subjected to a detriment for making a protected disclosure includes the right not to be unfairly penalised or disciplined. (See Detriment)
  • A worker may complain to an employment tribunal that they have been dismissed or subjected to a detriment for making a protected disclosure. (See Employment tribunals and remedies)