On 25th June 2013 the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act (ERRA) 2013 introduced legislative reforms in whistleblowing. Employers should immediately update their policies to take account of these changes.
The ERRA 2013 made the following changes:
- Disclosures of wrongdoing must be in the public interest. This means that workers will no longer be able to bring a whistleblowing claim for purely private matters, for example, problems relating to their own employment contract such as where they do not receive the correct amount of holiday pay. A whistle-blower will also now need to show that he or she reasonably believed that the disclosure was in the public interest.
- Disclosures will no longer have to be made in good faith.
- Employers can be vicariously liable for the actions of employees to their whistleblowing colleagues. This means that whistle-blowers now have the right not to be subjected to a detriment by co-workers or their employers’ agents for having blown the whistle. An employer will be vicariously liable for a detriment by a co-worker where the detriment is done in the course of the co-worker’s employment with the employer. An employer will also be liable for a detriment by an authorised agent such as a contractor.