Blown the whistle?


What is ‘whistleblowing’?

People who seek to report wrongdoing in their workplace are often referred to as ‘whistle-blowers’. In many (but by means not all) cases, the law protects ‘whistle-blowers’ from being victimised as a result of having ‘blown the whistle’. If it sounds like this has happened to you, you should read on.

What counts as ‘blowing the whistle’?

To have ‘blown the whistle’, you will need to have made a complaint (or comment) to the right person or organisation, at the right level, to the effect that your employing organisation has:

  • committed a criminal offence;
  • failure to comply with a legal obligation;
  • encouraged, participated in or otherwise allowed (a) miscarriage(s) of justice;
  • threatened or otherwise endangered an individual’s (or individuals’) health and safety;
  • damaged the environment;
  • deliberately attempted to cover up any of the above

There are some disclosures that can’t be qualifying disclosures. You won’t be protected for whistleblowing if:

  1. you break the law when making a disclosure (for example if you signed the Official Secrets Act as part of your employment contract); or
  2. the information is protected under legal professional privilege.

Discrimination and/or breach of your employment contract (where this has a wider public interest implication) can sometimes count for protection…

This is important to employees or (qualifying) workers who have raised grievances about breaches of their own rights or the rights of others.

What kind of unfavourable treatment qualifies for a claim?

Well, any sort of “less favourable treatment” could count, so long as it arose because you made a disclosure which was protected under the law. Common examples include:

  • being dismissed as a result;
  • being bullied as a result;
  • being selected for redundancy as a result;
  • being passed over for promotion or otherwise excluded from team events, as a result.

How much would you get if you did make a claim?

This is actually a difficult question to answer, to get an accurate assessment, you should ask a lawyer to help you. We can judge what assumptions a Tribunal might make in your case and explain how these affect the compensation you might be awarded. The potential brackets for compensation range between £500-£30,000 or more depending on whether you are able to claim loss of earnings.

So what are your options?

Well, if you are still employed, you may have the option of making things better for yourself whilst staying employed. We can tell you how to go about this.

Alternatively, if you are thinking of suing then we recommend that you get advice on: (i) whether you are in time to bring a claim; (ii) whether you have a good claim; and (iii) if so, what it’s worth.

Are you in time to bring a claim?

Time limits for whistleblowing claims run from the day on which you suffered less favourable treatment occurred.

You should assume you have three months minus a day from that point to make a claim otherwise it is very likely that you will be debarred from making a claim. There are limited exceptions. If you are going to make a claim, you should however move fast as you need to factor in enough time for a lawyer to draft your pleadings.

So what can we do for you?

We can advise you on whether you have a claim worth bringing and if so, what it’s worth. Alternatively, we can advise you on a strategy to protect your position at work and stop you being victimised over this.

We can offer a fixed fee service which includes meeting you and includes reading all your documents before advising you on options and strategy and making proposals about representation for you to consider.

Call us now. We are waiting to help you.

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Who to contact

For more information the following lawyers will be able to help with Blown the whistle?.

Andrew Humphrey
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