Significant amendments to whistleblowing legislation enacted into law

Whistleblowing has been a hot topic in the NHS since Gary Walker broke cover in the middle of February to claim he had been gagged after his dismissal as chief executive of United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust. The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 has and will make significant changes to our whistleblowing legislation.

These amendments, which came into force on 25 June 2013, aim to increase protection for ‘genuine’ whistleblowers, while plugging a loophole that conferred protection on employees who were in effect complaining about their own personal employment position rather than matters in the public interest.

In particular, the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 conferred protection on employees who disclosed a failure to comply with legal obligations. This was interpreted widely so that breaches of a contract of employment by an employer could count as a failure to comply with legal obligations for these purposes…

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