Whistleblowing Employers Solicitors
In the UK, employees are entitled to certain legal protections if they make a public interest disclosure with regards to the actions of their employer or a third party. This is more commonly known as “whistleblowing” or “blowing the whistle”.
As an employer, it is important that you reassure your workers that they are able to make any such disclosure safely, and this is typically done by having a specific whistleblowing procedure in place.
An effective whistleblowing policy is key to ensuring a consistent and compliant approach to whistleblowing across the company. Employees must be made aware that their job will not be at risk should they choose to blow the whistle, and that the law protects them from being treated unfairly in the workplace or being dismissed as a result of their actions.
At Analysis Legal we specialise in assisting employers with the legal side of their business, and we’re here to help you to establish an efficient whistleblowing policy. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any queries you might have, our team are always happy to help.
What is Whistleblowing?
The UK Whistleblowing Commission defines whistleblowing as ”the raising of a concern, within the workplace or externally, about a risk, danger, wrongdoing, or malpractice which affects others”. This is done by making a protected disclosure under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA) and its amendment to the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA).
The protected disclosure should show past, present, or future wrongdoing which falls into one or more of the following categories:
- Endangering the health and safety of others
- Causing damage to the environment
- Failure to comply with legal obligations
- Criminal offences e.g. fraud/embezzlement
- Miscarriages of justice
- Covering up wrongdoing in any of the above scenarios
Sometimes employees think they have blown the whistle, but it does actually constitute a protected disclosure. If you have any questions about whistleblowing, our expert employment solicitors are on hand to help. We work closely with businesses across a wide variety of industries, ensuring they are operating within the relevant employment legislation, so you can be assured of a high level of service when you choose Analysis Legal.
Why Should I Have a Whistleblowing Policy?
In the UK there is currently no legal requirement to have a whistleblowing policy in place. However, implementing a policy of this kind can have many advantages for your business, and if it does become a legal requirement in the future, you will already be compliant.
Some of the key reasons to implement a whistleblowing policy within your business include:
- Allowing the identification of early warning signs of important issues within your business which need to be resolved
- Letting current and prospective employees and stakeholders know that your business is run in an ethical manner and that you are compliant with other legislation such as the Modern Slavery Act and the Bribery Act
- Enabling a clear pathway to be followed in the event of a complaint, allowing the issues to reach those who have the authority to address and resolve them
- Acting as a deterrent and reducing the likelihood of wrongdoing occurring in the first instance
If you are unsure about why or how to establish a whistleblowing policy within your company, it is always advisable to speak to an experienced employment law specialist. Here at Analysis Legal we have helped many companies to implement clear and concise whistleblowing policies that have helped to improve their operations and increased trust within their businesses, and we’d love to do the same for your business.
Once again Analysis Legal LLP is a leading firm in the Legal 500 directory, which states ‘Andrea Paxton is a go-to for senior executive departures and hires, as well as redundancy, TUPE and IR35 advice’.
What Should I Include In A Whistleblowing Policy?
The specific contents of your whistleblowing policy will vary depending on the nature of your business and the industry within which you operate. We can help you tailor a policy to suit the exact needs of your business. However, as a minimum, a whistleblowing policy should include the following:
- A clear definition of whistleblowing and the kind of act that qualifies
- How whistleblowing differs to a grievance
- How a protected disclosure can be made i.e. who the prescribed persons/bodies are
- What will happen after a disclosure has been made i.e. timescales for action
- How confidentiality is handled during the whistleblowing process
- What the procedure is for a worker who wishes to blow the whistle anonymously
- Clear communication that any victimisation of the whistleblower is unacceptable and will be dealt with in line with your disciplinary procedure
- Clear communication that the whistleblower does not have to provide evidence, just sufficient detail to enable the employer to follow up the complaint
- Provide contact details and resources for workers who wish to seek further information about whistleblowing and their protection under the law
To find out more about setting up a whistleblowing policy within your business please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team. We have the experience and the expertise to ensure we create a policy that aligns with the needs of your business.
What Legal Protections Do Whistleblowers Have?
Whistleblowers are protected under the PIDA; however, it is stipulated that in order to qualify for protection, the disclosure must satisfy the following criteria:
- The complaint must be a ‘qualifying disclosure’
- The complaint must be made ‘in the public interest’
- The complaint must be made to a prescribed person or body
The employee must possess reasonable belief that the information they hold is true and that it concerns a matter within the prescribed person’s remit. They are not required to inform their employer first, but this is usually encouraged as a first step in workplaces that have an effective whistleblowing policy in place.
Protection for whistleblowers means that any worker who makes a protected disclosure cannot be dismissed for that reason or suffer a detriment; if a worker loses their job as a result of blowing the whistle, this would constitute automatic unfair dismissal or if they suffer a detriment they can bring a claim under PIDA. As an employer, it is vital that you have an appropriately worded whistleblowing policy in place and that you are adhering to it fully in order to minimise the risk of being taken to court by an employee who tries to claim they were unfairly dismissed or suffered a detriment.
Contact our Whistleblowing Solicitors
At Analysis Legal, we are a team of specialist Employment Law Solicitors in Manchester. We are experts in advising organisations and businesses all over the UK, from our office in Stockport related to matters involving employment law for employers.
Talking to an expert Whistleblowing Solicitor is crucial when facing an issue regarding an employee or ex-employee. We can guide you through the legal process, defend your case, and get you the best possible outcome.
We pride ourselves on our excellent level of client service, which focuses on the needs and requirement of your business. We are industry-leading experts for managers, HR representatives and business owners.
Analysis Legal understands your business, your requirements, and your values. We focus on this so that we can provide you the best service that is possible. We understand that every business is different, which is why all of our advice is tailored to your specific needs.
Get in touch with our Whistleblowing specialist solicitors today and we can start assisting you.