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Whistleblowing/Public interest disclosures

Fiona Cuming

Editor's message: “Whistleblowing” is when a worker discloses information relating to malpractice or wrongdoing in his or her workplace.

Workers who blow the whistle are protected under whistleblowing legislation from being victimised or dismissed, provided that their disclosure meets certain criteria and they genuinely and reasonably believe that their disclosure was in the public interest.

While case law and statute have not provided absolute rules as to what counts as being “in the public interest”, courts and tribunals have tended to give a liberal interpretation to the phrase. In Chesterton Global Ltd and another v Nurmohamed [2017] IRLR 837 CA, the Court of Appeal held that a worker’s disclosure relating to a breach of the employment contracts of 100 managers of a national estate agency, was made in the public interest and protected under the whistleblowing legislation.

Whistleblowing claims can be costly and damaging to your organisation's reputation. Dismissals for blowing the whistle are automatically unfair and there is no minimum service requirement for bringing a claim and no roof to the compensation that a tribunal can award.

Developing and promoting a clear and robust policy for your workers to raise their concerns about wrongdoing can help your organisation to minimise the risk, as well as assist you in dealing with whistleblowing claims effectively.

Fiona Cuming, employment law editor

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HR and legal information and guidance relating to whistleblowing/Public interest disclosures.