If you’re a business that needs advice on whistleblowing
Whistleblowing is a complex area of employment law for businesses, and many employers are finding themselves insufficiently protected.
It’s vital that all businesses understand the whistleblowing process and the challenges and risks they may face in the aftermath.
Our expert employment team can advise your team through the whistleblowing process from start to finish.
What is whistleblowing?
Whistleblowing is a process by which someone makes a company’s information public in the public interest, concerning one or more of the following practices:
- A criminal offence.
- Breach of any legal obligation.
- Miscarriage of justice.
- Serious health and safety concerns.
- Damage to the environment.
- The deliberate concealing of information about any of the above.
It’s a vital process that can uncover underhanded practices and hold those responsible to account, and anyone who is aware of any wrongdoing in their place of work can whistleblow.
What happens to a business when someone reveals information?
A whistleblower is protected under law during and after their employment if they reasonably believe the information they have disclosed is in the public interest and that it relates to one (or more) of the six above concerns. As the whistleblower’s employer, you have a duty to ensure that the employee in question is protected. If you dismiss the worker, or you cause them to suffer a disadvantage (referred to as a ‘detriment’) for ‘blowing the whistle’, then the worker has the right to take action.
As such, you should ensure that you are correctly advised legally when it comes to whistleblowing arrangements, in order to help prevent damage to lives and livelihoods, to save tens of thousands of pounds, and to avoid countless legal claims.
Why is whistleblowing a concern for employers?
In certain cases, whistleblowing can be a concern for employers because…
- There has been a marked increase in the number of whistleblowing claims being brought to the Employment Tribunal.
- Compensation for successful claims is uncapped in a Tribunal.
- If statutory bodies become involved, such as the Office of Fair Trading, those bodies may take further action that results in criminal sanctions.
- Tribunals also now have the power to report matters directly to the relevant statutory body, even if the employees have not reported them.
- Reputational damage can happen, especially when the media is involved.
- It can cause damage to staff morale.
- Significant management time and legal costs are required to defend whistleblowing claims. The disclosure could include the reporting of an alleged bribe, a breach of the Bribery Act 2010, and a strict liability offence.
How Kennedys can help your business
If your business needs advice or guidance on whistleblowing, Kennedys can help. We can assist with the following:
- Advising employers on their rights surrounding whistleblowing.
- Drafting a business whistleblowing policy.
- Offering advice on training managers on how to deal with issues that may arise.
- Advising employers on the whistleblowing processes.
- Our team has experience across all sectors, notably in healthcare, education and financial services.
We can give your business advice on any of the above issues – contact us by phone, or submit your details by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill in the contact form opposite.