Legal Advice on Whistleblowing for Employees
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 (like 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.