As Lockdown arising from the COVID-19 pandemic is eased, it is likely that there will be an increasing number of complaints that relate to wrong-doing in the workplace, in particular concerning health and safety.
When the activity comes to an employee or worker’s attention, they should notify the employer or anyone else identified within a policy or procedure as the person to whom the complaint should be made. This complaint is commonly referred to as “blowing the whistle” and is more formally known as “‘making a disclosure in the public interest”.
A whistleblower is protected irrespective of how long they have been in the workplace and whether they are directors, partners, freelancers, agency workers, workers or employees.
To qualify for protection, the whistleblower must have a reasonable belief that a wrongdoing has occurred, or is likely to occur and it is in the public interest to make a disclosure. To amount to a qualifying disclosure, it needs to be about:
- A criminal offence
- A breach of legal obligation
- A miscarriage of justice
- A danger to the health and safety of an individual
- Damage to the environment
- Information relating to any of the above which has been or is likely to be deliberately concealed
Should the whistleblower be subjected to detrimental treatment or dismissal as a result of making a disclosure, they are entitled to seek compensation in the Employment Tribunal.