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What is whistleblowing?
If certain individuals bring information about a wrongdoing to the attention of their employer or a relevant organisation they may be protected in certain circumstances under the laws relating to ‘whistleblowing’. The law is designed to protect those who speak out or ‘blow the whistle’ from detriment or dismissal if they find and disclose malpractice.
Can I tell anyone?
If a worker is going to make a disclosure it should, ideally, be made to the employer first, but the employee could make a disclosure to certain other prescribed persons to gain the legal protections. Employees cannot simply make accusations or allegations, the information must be in the public interest and the employee must have a reasonable belief that there is or may be a criminal offence, breach of a legal obligation, a miscarriage of justice, danger to the health and safety of an individual, damage to the environment and/or a deliberate attempt to conceal any of those matters to qualify for protection.
What protection might I have?
If an employee is dismissed or subjected to a detriment as a result of having made a disclosure, provided that disclosure meets the qualifying criteria, the employer may be liable.
Due to the complexities involved in bringing a whistleblowing claim, it is advisable to seek advice at an early stage and often prior to making any such disclosure.
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