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whistle-blowing


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N.

The disclosure by an employee of information regarding his employer's business. In certain circumstances (with respect to disclosures of wrongdoing by the employer and provided the disclosure is made in the public interest) employees are given legal protection from retaliation by the employer. The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 protects employees from dismissal, or detriment, with respect to certain types of disclosures. Contractual provisions attempting to oust the operation of the Act (e.g. the use of “gagging clauses” in an employment contract) are rendered void by the Act.

Qualifying disclosures must be made in good faith and must pertain to any of the following: criminal offences; the breach of a legal obligation; a miscarriage of justice; a danger to the health or safety of any individual; damage to the environment; deliberate covering up of information tending to show any of the above matters.Qualifying disclosures may be made to the employer or (by means of internal procedures) to a legal adviser, a minister of the Crown, or a prescribed regulator. If an employee is unable to make disclosures to any of these named persons, or fears retaliation in making such disclosures, then wider disclosure may be made (as long as this is not for personal gain). Wider disclosure could be, for example, to the police, the media, a Member of Parliament, or a non-prescribed regulator. Workers and employees who are dismissed or subjected to a detriment as a result of making a qualifying disclosure to an appropriate recipient can, within three months of such action, make a complaint to an employment tribunal. A dismissal on such grounds is unfair. Case: Street v Derbyshire Unemployed Workers' Centre [2004] EWCA Civ 964, [2004] IRLR 687. See also inadmissible reason.

criminal offences;

the breach of a legal obligation;

a miscarriage of justice;

a danger to the health or safety of any individual;

damage to the environment;

deliberate covering up of information tending to show any of the above matters.

Subjects: Law.


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