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Do I have a whistleblowing claim?

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If you feel you are being treated detrimentally, or you have been dismissed, due to reporting on your employer, you could have a claim for whistleblowing.  Our Employment team reviews the two different claims you could have in this situation, and how you should proceed if you have questions. 

What is whistleblowing?

Whistleblowing is when an individual reports suspected wrongdoing or dangers in relation to their employer's activities.  This report can include issues regarding bribery, facilitation of tax evasion, fraud or other criminal activity, miscarriages of justice, health and safety risks, damage to the environment and any breach of legal or professional obligations.

Protection from whistleblowing comes about when an employee makes a ‘protected disclosure’.  In other words, disclosing certain information in a way which qualifies them for legal protection.  

If you are protected, any dismissal relating to this disclosure will be automatically unfair. Unlike unfair dismissal claims, there is no minimum period of service required to bring a claim.  

What whistleblowing claims can be brought?

There are two types of claim which you can use as a basis for a claim. These are:

  1. Claims for detrimental treatment because you have blown the whistle.
  2. Claims for unfair dismissal as a result of whistleblowing.

If you have blown the whistle, you have the right not to be detrimentally treated because of this. There is no definition of the term detriment; however, the Whistleblowing Commission Code of Practice sets out a number of examples of disadvantages that could be classed as a detriment, including but not limited to:

  • Demotion
  • Ostracism
  • Suspension
  • Denial of training

You do not have to suffer detrimental treatment directly from your employer themselves.  It could be that your colleague bullies or harasses you as a result of the disclosure and this could still qualify as detrimental treatment from the employer as workers are treated as ‘agents’ of their employer and an employer is liable for the conduct of their employees.

You also do not have to be an employee to be eligible to claim detrimental treatment. Agency workers, self-employed contractors, trainees and interns could also still benefit from this protection.

Claims for unfair dismissal as a result of whistleblowing however can only be brought by employees. This protection also covers constructive dismissals, where an employee feels they have no choice but to resign, as well as actual dismissals.

Whistleblowing claims are very serious, and it is important you receive the right legal advice from an experienced legal adviser before proceeding with a claim.  To discuss your situation with a member of our expert Employment team today, call 023 8071 7717 or email employment@warnergoodman.co.uk.

ENDS

This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.