A whistleblower is a worker who brings wrongdoing in the workplace to the attention of their employer or a relevant organisation. Whistleblowing is known more formally as making a protected disclosure.
If you report wrongdoing within an organisation you may be protected in certain circumstances under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. The type of wrongdoing disclosed must be in the public interest, i.e. it must affect others, not necessarily you, although you may be affected too.
What complaints count as whistleblowing?
Not every type of wrongdoing disclosed will afford you protection. Generally, qualifying disclosures are disclosures of information where you reasonably believe that one or more of the following matters is taking place, has taken place, or is likely to take place in the future:
- A criminal offence
- The breach of a legal obligation
- A miscarriage of justice
- A danger to the health and safety of any individual
- Damage to the environment
- A deliberate attempt to conceal any of the above.
How should I make a disclosure?
You should make a disclosure to your employer in the first instance unless you feel unable to do so in which case the disclosure should be made to a prescribed person or body that deals with the issue you are raising. For example, if your complaint is about health and safety you may be able to complain to the Health and Safety Executive. Your employer may have a whistleblowing policy which tells you how to complain.
What protections are afforded to me if I whistleblow?
You should not suffer any detriment or be dismissed for having made a protected disclosure. Detriment might include being subjected to disciplinary action, being demoted or being selected for redundancy. Your dismissal will be automatically unfair if the reason for your dismissal was wholly or mainly because you had made a protected disclosure.
If you suffer a detriment or are dismissed you may be able to claim compensation.
There is no qualifying period of employment needed before you can make a whistleblowing claim but you do have to ensure you lodge your claim with ACAS under their early conciliation process within 3 months less one day from the date of the act you complain about (or the last act if there is a series of acts).
How can Lincs Law help?
If you have made a protected disclosure or intend to make a protected disclosure but are not sure if you are protected under whistleblowing law we would be happy to advise you. Equally if you have already made a protected disclosure and have suffered a detriment or have been dismissed we can advise you about any remedies you may have against your employer. Please contact one of our specialist employment law solicitors at LincsLaw on 01522 440512 or visit our website at www.lincslaw.co.uk for more details on how we can help you.
Specialist Employment Law Solicitor
LincsLaw Employment Solicitors