Top Tips you need to know for Whistleblowing | Paul Doran Law

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Top Tips you need to know for Whistleblowing

What is a whistleblower?

If you notice any wrongdoing, malpractice or unlawful conduct at your place of work and you report this to your employer, than you are a whistleblower. Being a whistleblower means that you are disclosing wrongdoings in the public interest.

Blowing the whistle can raise concerns, as many people are afraid of being unfairly treated or even dismissed by their employer. However, by law whistleblowers are protected, which means if you are a whistleblower then you are protected from unfair treatment and even dismissal from your employer.

When should you blow the whistle?

When you have witnessed any malpractice, unethical, or wrongdoings at your workplace and you feel that it is important to report this, then you should raise this concern with your employer.

What Can You Do – 5 Top Tips?

1. Find out about your employers whistleblowing policy

Employers often have a whistleblowing policy in place to protect their employers. The policy will explain the procedure for whistleblowing and whom the first person you can raise your concerns with. It is important that you follow the whistleblowing procedure set in place, as it has been created to protect you and make sure that your concerns are dealt with appropriately.

Do not try to investigate your concerns, as this is not your responsibility.

Doing so, may sour your relationship with your employer and/or colleagues. Remember, if you wish to keep your identity confidential, you must make this clear from the start when raising your concern with the appropriate person.

2. Keep a detailed record

Keeping a written record, which might be in the form of a diary, notes, or even emailing yourself is always a good idea. These notes are a clear record of your concern, the wrongdoing incident and with whom and when you reported this. Writing down these facts, dates and other relevant information relating to your concerns will help to organise your thoughts, but it is also proof of when the notes were made.

If possible, make copies of any relevant information, documents etc that will help with supporting your concern, as any proof always helps.

3. Stick to the facts

As a whistleblower, your role is to be more of a witness rather than complaining. Therefore, it is important that you keep it factual by focusing on the five W’s (what, when, who, where and how). Sticking to the facts is your main responsibility and this makes you a reliable witness, so remember, be clear on what you have witnessed and what your concern is.

Avoid aggressive language and certain words such as ‘illegal’, ‘corrupt’, or ‘criminal’ as this could distract people from the actual concern you are raising. A whistleblower must remain calm, rational, and most importantly factual so that your concern is taken seriously.

4. What about confidentiality clauses?

The law protects whistleblowers so that an employee can never be prevented from blowing the whistle even if a Settlement/Compromise Agreement with a confidentiality clause has been signed. Confidentiality clauses prevent you as an employee from discussing matters regarding your work with third parties. However, this does not prevent you from blowing the whistle with your employer or even regulatory bodies if you have a genuine concern on any wrongdoings or malpractice at your workplace as the law deems all such clauses to be automatically void.

5. Seeking help from an external body

In limited circumstances, where you are unable to report your concerns to your employer, then your next option is to directly report to an external body. You can disclose your concerns to relevant regulators or ‘prescribed persons’ such as the HMRC, Financial Services Authority, and the Health and Safety Executive etc. However, this will vary depending upon your concern and current situation.

How We Can Help

We are specialist employment lawyers and have experience of assisting employees who have suffered detriment and dismissal because they made public interest disclosures. We can advise if there is a public interest disclosure and to whom the disclosure should be made.

If a worker is dismissed for whistleblowing they can claim automatically unfair dismissal with compensation such as a basic award which is calculated the same way as a redundancy payment, loss of earnings and compensation for injury to feelings.

If you have not been dismissed but have suffered some other detriment such as not being promoted or being given a poor reference after leaving for a new job compensation can be claimed for financial losses and injury to feelings.

Paul Doran Law have had successful claims for all types of employment law claims including whistleblowing, unfair dismissal, discrimination and equal pay.

We have a number of options regarding funding a case (see here) and have also arranged an insurance policy which will protect you against the risk of having to pay Tribunal fees should your case be lost.

“I appreciate the thorough and expediant manner to which the task was completed. Paul is trustworthy, fair and professional.”

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