The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 is often referred to as the Whistle-blowing Act. Employees who "blow the whistle" on their employer by making a protected disclosure, such as a exposé concerning an alleged criminal offence or other wrongdoing, have the legal right not to be dismissed, selected for redundancy or subjected to any detriment due to the disclosure.
A disclosure made in the public interest will be protected where the employee makes the allegations base on a reasonable belief of wrong doing by the employer. It is therefore recommended that all Companies develop a simple but readily accessible procedure for dealing with these types of allegations.
As of 25 June 2013 several important amendments to whistleblowing legislation come into force.
Section 17 - 20 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 amended the relevant provisions of the Employment Rights Act 1996 confirming that:
1.a disclosure will not be protected unless it is, in the reasonable belief of the worker making the disclosure, "in the public interest";
2.a disclosure no longer has to be made "in good faith" to be protected, but an employment tribunal may reduce a worker's compensation by up to 25% if it appears to the tribunal that a protected disclosure was not made in good faith;
3.a worker has the right not to be subjected to a detriment by any act or deliberate omission by another worker employed by his or her employer on the ground that he or she has made a protected disclosure; and
4. a worker has the right not to be subjected to a detriment by any act or deliberate omission by an agent of his or her employer acting with the employer's authority.
An employer will be vicariously liable for any such acts or omissions committed by another worker or an agent. An employment tribunal will also be able to hold the other worker or agent liable. The employer will have a defence in tribunal proceedings if it can show that it took "all reasonable steps" to prevent the other worker from committing the act or omission, or any act or omission of that description.
If you do not have a fit for purpose whistleblowing policy or procedure in place contact Harries HR for a free consultation on 01206 865464 NOW!