Whistleblowing and Claims for Unfair Dismissal

Author:
Aneil Balgobin
Partner, Head of Employment Law
Date:
20/09/2019

In England and Wales, whistleblowing can be an automatically unfair reason for dismissal from work. As a whistleblower, you are protected by law and you should not be treated unfairly or lose your job.

You’re protected by law if you’re going to report any of the following:

  • A criminal offence, such as fraud
  • Someone’s health and safety is in danger
  • Risk of actual damage to the environment
  • A miscarriage of justice
  • The company is breaking the law, such as not having the correct insurance
  • If you believe there is covering up of any wrongdoings

Our Employment Law Solicitors specialise in unfair dismissal claims and can advise you if you believe you’ve been unfairly dismissed by your employer.

We offer a reliable and prompt service, ensuring we’re available when you want to speak to us, even outside normal office hours.

For free initial legal advice get in touch with our Employment Law Solicitors.

Call us on 08002605010 or request a callback and we will help you.

What is Whistleblowing?

Whistleblowing is when a person informs on another person, organisation or employer regarded as engaging in unlawful or immoral activity.

If you feel you’ve seen someone engaging in any wrongdoing at work, then you can raise your concerns at any time about an incident. This could be something that happened in the past, is happening now, or that you believe will happen in the future.

The information you disclose when “blowing the whistle” has to be in the public interest, meaning that it has to affect others, such as members of the general public.

Who is Protected by the Law?

You are protected by law if you’re a worker. Your employment status can fall into certain categories, such as:

  • An employee, such as an office worker, or an NHS employee
  • A trainee, such as a student nurse
  • An agency worker
  • A member of a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

Whistleblower Protection

Whistleblowers are protected in England and Wales under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA). This protects employees and workers who blow the whistle about wrongdoing. Under PIDA, workers can make “protected disclosures”, if they witness any wrongdoing happening in the workplace.

You have to have a genuine belief that the information you disclose qualifies as a protected disclosure. The belief needs to be correctly provided that it is honestly held in the circumstances prevailing at the time of disclosure.

As a whistleblower, PIDA will protect you if you disclose information in good faith to:

  • Your employer, either directly or through an internal company procedure
  • Another person who they reasonably believe to be solely or mainly responsible for the relevant failure

Can I Make a Whistleblowing Claim?

If you’ve been treated unfairly after blowing the whistle there are two types of claim you can make.

  • Claims for detrimental treatment by your employer or a colleague as a result of whistleblowing
  • Claims for unfair dismissal as a result of whistleblowing

Detrimental Treatment

You may have experienced colleagues or your employer treating you unfairly after your whistleblowing actions. Detrimental treatment can include:

  • Not being considered for a promotion
  • Being demoted, or having some of your duties removed
  • Being excluded from certain opportunities at work
  • Being harassed or bullied

It’s important to note that your employer is liable for the conduct of your colleagues if they mistreat you, meaning you can still make a claim against your employer even though it is your colleagues who are treating you unfairly.

Unfair Dismissal

You can only claim for unfair dismissal if you worked in the capacity of an employee, under a contract of employment, before you were dismissed. Even if you are forced to resign, this is known as Constructive Dismissal, and you can still make a claim.

Use our Unfair Dismissal Compensation calculator to see how much your claim could be worth.

It is considered automatically unfair if you’re dismissed because of your whistleblowing actions. Your employer must have a justifiable reason to dismiss you, and this cannot be because you were a whistleblower.

In whistleblowing cases, there’s no minimum time you must have spent working for your employer, should you wish to make a claim. In other unfair dismissal claims, which are not because of whistleblowing, you need to have worked for your employer for a minimum of two years.

How Our Employment Solicitors Can Help You

If you have been unfairly dismissed from your job for whistleblowing, one of our Employment Solicitors can explain your options in greater detail, suggesting the best approach in your case.

If you would like to make an unfair dismissal claim, our Employment Solicitors can act on your behalf. We will work hard to get you the maximum amount of compensation for the losses you have suffered because of your dismissal. 

For free initial legal advice call our Employment Solicitors

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