Beware: An employee has the right to blow the whistle

Not a day passes when some fraud or other wrongdoing is reported in the media.

From internal fraud, to bribery and corruption, businesses both large and small have had their wrong doings exposed to public and legal scrutiny by reason of the actions of a concerned employee. This is known as whistleblowing.

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 Protects Employees Who 'Blow the Whistle'

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA) protects employees who 'blow the whistle' (known as a 'protected disclosure') on their employer.

It is unlawful to subject any worker to a detriment (including threats of disciplinary action or damage to career prospects) on the ground that an employee has made a protected disclosure.

A 'worker' can include a range of paid staff including a worker supplied by an Agency.

Employee Protection After Whistleblowing

For the worker to have protection after whistleblowing, they must be able to show that the 'information' they have disclosed is, in their reasonable and genuine belief such that the employer has:

Committed a criminal offenceBreached a legal obligation;Caused a miscarriage of justice;Exposed a danger to health and safety of any individual;Caused or exposed a potential damage to the environment;Deliberately concealed information about any of the above.

PIDA encourages an employee to disclose to an employer such wrongdoing and also allows an employee to report any legitimate concern directly to the employer's customer, supplier or client if it genuinely considers that this party is responsible.

Employers Should Protect Themselves By Having a Compliant Whistleblowing Policy

Employers should protect themselves by ensuring that they have a compliant whistleblowing policy in place that not only enforces such rights but more importantly allows a concerned employee to bypass a level of management that may prevent such a disclosure being made.

An effective and managed policy will ensure that matters of concern are properly reported and investigated and the business is protected from reputational harm and damage.

Click here to visit Hattons Employment Law section

Written by Clive Mackintosh- Solicitor

For more advice on implementing an effective and complaint 'whistleblowing policy' please contact our experienced solicitors on 08000 111 303 or visit


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