The need for whistleblowing hopefully won’t arise in your company, but if it does you should have an understanding of what might be involved. As an employer it’s important to have a whistleblowing policy in place to help you to deal with the situation quickly and correctly. We can create this with you and guide you through it, but it’s also important that you have some knowledge about of what this area of law is about.
Whistleblowing – the basics
To blow the whistle, an employee must believe the information they are disclosing shows one of the following has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur:
- A criminal offence
- Breach of a legal obligation
- Miscarriage of justice
- Danger to the health and safety of an individual
- Damage to the environment
- Deliberate concealing of information about any of the above
Employees are protected against dismissal for whistleblowing, and workers and employees are protected against detriment, and this is regardless of how long they’ve been working for you. If they are dismissed, they can claim for unfair dismissal. There is no longer a need for disclosure to be made in “good faith” either and compensation for whistleblowing claims is unlimited, which has lead to a rise in claims in this area.
So it’s really important that you have procedures in place to handle this type of issue. This encourages your staff to come forward if there is a problem, which in turn can allow you to deal with it internally, protecting your business and your reputation. Our team are happy to talk you through all of this in more detail if you have any concerns about whistleblowing.
The issue of data security has again taken centre stage after the High Court recently held Morrisons Supermarket to be vicariously liable for a rogue employee’s deliberate disclosure of co-workers’ personal data.
The question of where the boundary lies between an employer’s need to monitor staff and an employee’s right to privacy has once again landed at the European Court of Human Rights’ door.