Workers who make “protected disclosures” known as “whistleblowing” are protected from dismissal, selection for redundancy and from being subjected to a detriment such as disciplinary action, refusal of a pay increase or promotion.
Any whistleblowing claim must arise from a “protected disclosure”. This is a disclosure of information which the worker reasonably believes is made in the public interest and tends to show one or more of certain types of wrongdoing which include:
Failure to comply with legal obligations
Miscarriage of justice
Endangerment of health or safety
Damage to the environment
Deliberate concealment of any of these things.
A disclosure should normally be made to the individual’s employer. If the employer has a whistleblowing policy, this should be read and followed.
Types of Claim
The three types of whistleblowing claim include:
Automatic unfair dismissal for whistleblowing, which can be brought by employees with no minimum level of service. This is in contrast to ordinary unfair dismissal claims which require two years’ service.
Unlawful detriment whistleblowing claim, which may be brought by a worker.
Claims for whistleblowing detriment by a co-worker or an agent of the employer, which may be brought by a worker.
Who can claim?
An individual does not need a minimum period of service to bring a claim as protection is a “day one right”.
All workers may bring claims for whistleblowing detriment which includes anyone working under a contract of employment, or any other contract under which one person provides work personally to another person who is not a client or customer of their own business. This includes home workers and agency workers.
Only employees may bring whistleblowing unfair dismissal claims. Workers may bring detriment claims about dismissals for whistleblowing, although the remedies if successful will be different.
Where an employee succeeds with a claim of unfair dismissal and the Tribunal finds that the principal reason they were dismissed was that they made a protected disclosure, the employee will be entitled to the same remedies as an ordinary unfair dismissal claim which includes reinstatement, re-engagement and compensation (basic award and compensatory award). In cases where a dismissal is automatically unfair, the compensatory award is not subject to any statutory limit as is the case in ordinary unfair dismissal claims.
Where a worker succeeds with a claim for whistleblowing detriment, the Tribunal will make a declaration to that effect. They may also award compensation in the form of an injury to feelings award which is assessed on the same principles as a discrimination claim.
If you require any advice on your rights as a whistleblower or making a whistleblowing claim, our employment law experts are on hand to assist. Contact the team today for comprehensive advise tailored to your circumstances. Call 0845 287 0939 or send your enquiry by email or through the online chat below.