Protection for whistleblowers
Protection for whistleblowers

The following Risk & Compliance practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Protection for whistleblowers
  • What is whistleblowing?
  • Employment protection
  • Pre-conditions to whistleblowing protection
  • Qualifying disclosures
  • Relevant types of wrongdoing
  • Exceptions
  • When are qualifying disclosures protected?

This Practice Note summarises the law and practice in relation to whistleblowing as governed by the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996). It is intended to provide high-level information for organisations, to help draft your whistleblowing policy. It is not intended as a guide to dealing with whistleblowing claims, which is an employment law matter.

What is whistleblowing?

Whistleblowing is the common term used to describe a situation where:

  1. someone who works in or for an organisation (a worker)

  2. raises a concern about a possible fraud, crime, danger or other serious risk

  3. that could threaten customers, colleagues, shareholders, the public or the organisation's reputation

Whistleblowing legislation is governed by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA 1998). PIDA 1998 was incorporated into ERA 1996 and provides a framework within which a worker can safely draw matters to the attention of their employer or, where necessary to an external body, without fear of being dismissed or being subjected to any form of detriment.

You may wish to use our Precedent: Policy and procedure—whistleblowing (short form) and related procedures.

Employment protection

A worker who has made a protected disclosure under ERA 1996 has the right not to suffer a detriment or to be dismissed as a result.

If the reason, or the principal reason, for dismissing a worker is because they have made a protected disclosure, they may make a claim to an

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