Whistleblowing protection (employment)

Now that employees usually need more than two years’ service before they are able to claim unfair dismissal, they often look for other potential claims to bring against their employer if the relationship ends on a sour note. Whistleblowing is one of those potential avenues as no period of qualifying service is required. Employers would be wise to stay alert to what can constitute ‘blowing the whistle’, particularly given the recent and upcoming changes in the law.

To be covered by the whistleblowing legislation, the employee’s disclosure must be both a ‘qualifying’ and a ‘protected’ disclosure.

A disclosure will typically be a ‘qualifying disclosure’ where the employee: has made a disclosure of information (rather than simply threatening it) — it is still sufficient for the employee to draw attention to matters that are already known by the recipient; has a reasonable belief (even if that belief is mistaken) that the information shows malpractice relating to a criminal offence, breach of a legal obligation, a miscarriage of justice or danger to either the health and safety of an individual or the environment (or the deliberate concealment of these matters); and makes the disclosure in the public interest…

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