The Government has recently updated the list of prescribed persons to whom workers can make protected disclosures. A protected disclosure is a disclosure of information by a worker, which in the reasonable belief of the worker, is in the public interest and tends to show that one of a number of things has happened, is happening, or is likely to happen. Those things are:-
- The commission of a criminal offence;
- The failure of a person to comply with a legal obligation to which he is subject;
- A miscarriage of justice;
- Damage to the environment; or
- The concealment of information tending to show any of the above has happened.
A worker who makes such a qualifying disclosure is protected from being subjected to any detriment by their employer on the ground of having made the disclosure. Similarly, there is also unfair dismissal protection where the reason or principal reason for dismissal is the employee having made a protected disclosure. Unlike ordinary unfair dismissal claims, there is no 2 year minimum employment requirement before an employee can claim. It can be brought from day one. Therefore, these whistleblowing claims can be attractive for staff with less than 2 years’ service. Similarly, compensation in such claims is uncapped!
A qualifying disclosure can be made to the employer directly. It can also be made to anyone on the list of prescribed persons. You can click here to view the recently updated list.
Employers are well advised to ensure that they have in place a robust whistleblowing policy for dealing with any staff protected disclosures.