Topics

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

New and updated

  • Three quarters of whistleblowers 'retaliated against' by their employer

    Date:
    17 July 2019
    Type:
    News

    Three quarters of whistleblowers experience retaliation from their employer including bullying, attempts to destroy evidence and dismissal, according to a group of MPs seeking to strengthen protections for those who highlight corporate wrongdoing.

  • Cases on appeal

    Type:
    Law reports

    Updated to reflect that the Supreme Court allowed the appeal in Tillman v Egon Zehnder Ltd.

  • Date:
    20 June 2019
    Type:
    Legal guidance

    Following high-profile allegations of sexual harassment by staff, employees are now more empowered to speak up about inappropriate behaviour than ever before. But how they raise their complaint also dictates how an organisation should handle it. Catherine McGrath explains.

  • Date:
    11 June 2019
    Type:
    Legal guidance

    For many, the notion of a cartel may conjure up images of Columbian drug barons, but UK businesses need to be aware of how a cartel can be established. HR, explains Lucy Robbins, can play a valuable role in tackling them.

  • Whistleblowing culture 'firmly entrenched' in the UK

    Date:
    17 May 2019
    Type:
    News

    Although 35% of UK businesses have no system in place for whistleblowing, a comparison with other economically similar nations in Europe shows that the UK is ahead of the curve.

  • Whistleblowing

    Type:
    Employment law manual

    Updated to reflect the European Parliament's approval of a proposed Directive to strengthen whistleblower protection.

  • 'Extend whistleblowing protections in line with new EU law'

    Date:
    17 April 2019
    Type:
    News

    The government is being urged to adopt new EU whistleblowing legislation, to avoid the risk of UK whistleblowers being left behind with out-of-date law.

  • Date:
    14 March 2019
    Type:
    Legal guidance

    Consultant editor Darren Newman considers whistleblowing in the NHS, focusing on the public interest test and the danger of working on the basis that an allegation is malicious.

  • EAT rules that defamation complaint can form basis of whistleblowing claim

    Date:
    30 January 2019
    Type:
    Law reports

    In Ibrahim v HCA International Ltd, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that the worker's complaint that false rumours had been spread about him is an allegation of defamation and a disclosure of information that tends to show a breach of a legal obligation under the whistleblowing provisions.

  • Whistleblowing: Co-workers liable for dismissal-related detriment

    Date:
    1 November 2018
    Type:
    Law reports

    In Timis and another v Osipov and another, the Court of Appeal held that, under s.47B of the Employment Rights Act 1996, an employee may bring a whistleblowing claim for dismissal-related detriment against a fellow worker.

About this topic

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