Whistleblowing at Work

Whistleblowing is a fairly recent term, relating to when an employee raises an issue at work relating to a dangerous or illegal situation. In this situation, you have Employment legislation designed to protect you. 

What is Whistleblowing?

Whistleblowing is the sharing of information related to the wrongdoing for your employer, in your reasonable belief the disclosure tends to show that one of the following has happened, is happening or is likely to happen:

  • a criminal offence
  • breach of any legal obligation
  • miscarriage of justice
  • danger to the health and safety of any individual
  • damage to the environment
  • deliberate concealing of information about any of the above

Someone who believes that one of these occurrences is happening in the working environment should report to the employer in accordance with the employer’s own whistleblowing policy first.  

Common whistleblowing examples can be somebody working in the care sector who alleges that the health and safety of service users, ie. patients or those being cared for, is being breached by health and safety. 

Another example may be a worker disclosing that he or she is being required to dump effluent waste illegally. There is protection for whistleblowers under The Employment Rights Act 1996 for employees and workers from being dismissed or subjected to a detriment because they have made a protected disclosure.  There is no length of service requirement as is the case in normal claims for unfair dismissal to a Tribunal.

The law encourages disclosure to the employer as the first method of whistleblowing. However, disclosures to some external bodies will also be protected in some cases.  Parliament has approved a list of prescribed persons for workers to make disclosures to, subject to the worker believing that the information disclosed is substantially true and concerns a matter within the disclosures remit. Prescribed persons include HMRC, the Health & Safety Executive, the Office of Fair Trading, the Charity Commission, Members of Parliament and many industry regulators. 

If you have whistle blown and as a result, have been treated less favourably by your employer or dismissed, then contact us.