Q. What is Whistleblowing?
A: ‘Whistleblowing’ is when a worker reports suspected wrongdoing at work. Officially this is called ‘making a disclosure in the public interest’.
A worker can report things that aren’t right, are illegal or if anyone at work is neglecting their duties, including:
- someone’s health and safety is in danger
- damage to the environment
- a criminal offence
- the company isn’t obeying the law (e.g. not having the right insurance)
- covering up wrongdoing
Q: How do I ‘blow the whistle’?
A: The way you can ‘blow the whistle’ on wrongdoing depends on whether you feel you can tell your employer.
- You should check your employment contract or ask Human Resources or personnel if the company has a whistleblowing procedure.
- If you feel they can, you should contact your employer about the issue you want to report.
- If you can’t tell your employer, you should contact a prescribed person or body.
You can only tell the prescribed person or body if they think your employer:
- will cover it up
- would treat you unfairly if you complained
- hasn’t sorted it out and you have already told them
Q: Can I make a claim for unfair dismissal if I am dismissed for blowing the whistle?
A: Yes you can make a claim in the employment tribunal. If the tribunal decides you have been unfairly dismissed, it will order that you are:
- reinstated (get your job back) or
- paid compensation
A tribunal judge can reduce any compensation awarded by 25% if they find the person has acted dishonestly.
A whistleblower who is bullied at work will also be able to bring a claim to the employment tribunal against their employer.