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  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
Updated to include additional information in determining the reason for dismissal in whistleblowing cases.
As always, HR professionals have had their fair share of employment law cases to keep track of in 2019. We count down the 10 most important judgments of the year that every employer should know about.
In Royal Mail Group Ltd v Jhuti, the Supreme Court held that, where a dismissal for making protected disclosures is hidden behind an invented reason that is adopted by the decision-maker, the reason for the dismissal is the hidden reason rather than the invented one.
In Ibrahim v HCA International Ltd, the Court of Appeal reiterated the two-step test for an employment tribunal to follow when deciding if the claimant had a reasonable belief that the disclosures they were making were "in the public interest".
In Gilham v Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Court unanimously held that whistleblowing protection extends to judicial officeholders.
Updated to reflect the European Council's approval of the Directive to strengthen whistleblower protection.
In Simpson v Cantor Fitzgerald Europe, the Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld the tribunal decision that 37 disclosures made by a city worker are not protected disclosures within the meaning of s.43B of the Employment Rights Act 1996.
We are joined by Matthew Perry, solicitor at Wedlake Bell, to explore common issues relating to whistleblowing.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to whistleblowing/Public interest disclosures.