What is Whistleblowing?
‘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
How do I ‘blow the whistle’?
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 you 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, such as an industry 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
Can I make a claim for unfair dismissal if I am dismissed for blowing the whistle?
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 that you acted in bad faith in blowing the whistle.
It is important to understand the sorts of disclosures which fall within the Public Interest Disclosure Rules and the procedure you should use to make a disclosure. Contact our experts for confidential free initial advice.