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Government Makes Changes to the ‘Whistleblowing’ Legislation

The Government has announced that the protections available to whistleblowers are to be strengthened further.

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill will amend the law so that individuals who make a protected disclosure against their employer will be protected from instances of bullying or harassment by their fellow workers. The employer will be held vicariously liable for detrimental treatment of a whistleblower by his or her co-workers unless the employer can show that it took all reasonable steps to prevent the treatment. Currently, the law only affords a worker protection from harassment or bullying by his or her employer.

In addition, as the law stands at present, for a worker to be able to rely on legal protection against dismissal for making a protected disclosure, he or she must be acting in good faith. This requirement is to be removed and, in its place, an employment tribunal will have the power to reduce the compensation award by 25 per cent if it finds that a disclosure was not made in good faith.

It is important to recognise when workers have rights under the whistleblowing legislation and to investigate thoroughly matters raised in such circumstances. Contact us for individual advice on this topic.