What is whistleblowing? According to whistleblowing advice solicitors, this is disclosing information or calling attention to wrongdoing.
Whistleblowers can alert authorities and other people to a criminal offence like fraud or when someone's health and safety are in danger. Expert employment lawyers can also apply if there is a risk or actual damage to the environment or a miscarriage of justice.
When applied to the workplace, whistleblowing could mean exposing possible unlawful activities in an organization, like failing to comply with legal obligations.
Whistleblowers are Protected in the UK
Thomson Reuters Practical Law said whistleblowers in the United Kingdom are protected by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA). Employees who make "protected disclosures" under the PIDA can accuse the company they work of for unfair dismissal if they are terminated due to the disclosures.
Aside from this, whistleblowers are also protected from other acts that hamper their careers, refusing to offer promotions, facilities, or training opportunities. Workers who are not employees (like independent contractors and workers provided by an agency) cannot make an unfair dismissal claim but can speak out against detrimental treatment from the company.
The types of disclosure that PIDA recognizes are the following:
- A breach of a legal obligation
- A criminal offence
- A danger to an individual's health or safety
- A miscarriage of justice
- Damage to the environment
- Deliberate covering up of any of the above information
Disclosures can include those that happened outside the UK. These are called “qualifying disclosures.”
Disclosures Not Covered Under the Law
However, some types of disclosure are not protected by PIDA. These include disclosures prohibited under the Official Secrets Act 1989 and those that fall under what is known as legal professional privilege.
Also, disclosures are only protected if they are revealed in good faith to the appropriate person. These are:
The employer, either directly or through an internal company procedure.
Another person whom they reasonably believe to be solely or mainly responsible for the problem.
Employees who make disclosures to a "prescribed person" (a party outside the company prescribed by the Secretary of State like a regulatory body) must meet more conditions to obtain protection. Whistleblowers who make disclosures to external persons or bodies not specified by PIDA must meet more conditions before they can qualify for protection.
Consult Us for Whistleblowing
Individuals who have been unfairly dismissed due to whistleblowing can claim before an employment tribunal, but this should be done within three months. This can be extended if the claims are made after following the statutory grievance procedures under the Employment Act 2002 or if the tribunal extends the time limit.
Whistleblowing can be challenging, especially if it can affect your career. To protect yourself and do this in the safest possible way, consult the whistleblowing advice solicitors of Deo Volente (DV) Solicitors in Bedford, UK. We can tell you what to do and provide the support you need.