What happens if you ‘blow the whistle’ on wrongdoing in the workplace and as a result suffer detrimental treatment or are dismissed? Do you have any protection in law?
Yes – workers and employees are protected if they make a disclosure to their employer that, in their reasonable belief (and a matter of public interest), one of the following has taken place or is likely to happen in the future; a criminal offence, a breach of a legal obligation, a miscarriage of justice, a danger to the health and safety of any individual, damage to the environment or a deliberate attempt to conceal any of the above. These are known as ‘protected disclosures’.
Most organisations will have a whistleblowing policy, which should usually be followed unless the particular circumstances make that untenable – in which case the individual should make the disclosure to a prescribed person e.g. a relevant body with regulatory or supervisory powers.
If because of making a protected disclosure, you are then subjected to detrimental treatment, for example you are given a pay cut, are selected for redundancy or capability proceedings are commenced against you – without reasonable grounds – or indeed if you are dismissed, then you should consider bringing a claim to a tribunal alleging detriment and/or unfair dismissal on the grounds of making the disclosure.
A dismissal may be considered ‘automatically unfair’ by a tribunal if it considers it wholly or mainly attributable to making a protected disclosure. If you are successful at tribunal, you will be awarded compensation consisting of loss of earnings and in detriment cases, an award for injury to feelings. Compensation for automatic unfair dismissal and detriment are uncapped, so tribunal awards can be very high.
If you think you have been treated unfairly or victimised because of raising concerns at work on an issue of malpractice, then you need to act quickly to protect any legal claims. The deadline to pursue a claim is three months less one day from the dismissal or act of detriment and the ACAS Early Conciliation process must be followed.
We have extensive experience of handling whistleblowing cases and any associated employment tribunal claims and can provide you with comprehensive advice on your options including the amount of compensation you might receive if you win. We can also help you with any settlement negotiations as an alternative to bringing a claim. This is a complex are of law and professional advice should be sought as early as possible.
We will always offer you a FREE, no-obligation telephone consultation followed by a reduced fixed fee meeting to give you comprehensive advice and support on your employment issues.
We can advise you either by telephone or at a face-to-face meeting at our offices. We also offer out of hours and weekend appointments to help you to obtain early advice and support.