A whistle blower is a worker who makes a “protected disclosure”, usually to his employer, about breach of a legal obligation. Disclosures may be about a criminal offence or a breach of health and safety regulations amongst others. A breach of the employer’s own rules would not normally qualify.
Workers have a right not to be subjected to any detriment or disadvantage by the employer because they have made a protected disclosure. Where an employee is dismissed and the reason for that dismissal is that he has made a protected disclosure, such dismissal is ‘automatically’ unfair and he does not need 2 years of service to pursue this complaint.
If a worker suffers any detriment or disadvantage (other than dismissal) because he made a protected disclosure, he is awarded compensation for ‘injury to feelings’, as well as for any financial loss. Compensation for financial loss is unlimited.
An employer is liable for a detriment imposed by another employee, under the principle of vicarious liability.
Larger employers often have a specific procedure to deal with whistleblowing allegations.
There are often disputes as to whether an act or complaint is a ‘protected disclosure’, as well as whether such act caused a detriment or dismissal. Both facts and law in these cases are rarely straightforward. We have a great deal of experience in whistleblowing cases and we can help. Please call on 01483 303 636.