How well do you know the whistleblowing policy?

Claimant dealings

The whistleblowing policy exists to protect employees from unfair treatment and as such how claimants are dealt with depends on how the disclosure was made, who it was told to, and whether others are involved. If you have been treated unfairly then your case can move forward to an employment tribunal. However claims which are paid out can vary according to how the disclosure was made.

Policy concerns

Introduced following a spate of rail and financial disasters in the 80s and 90s, whistleblowing is a law which has stood the test of time, but many have been calling for changes to be made to the policy following concerns it isn’t doing enough to protect employees.

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With 82 per cent of those who work for SMEs claiming they would feel comfortable in reporting illegal or unethical workplace practices, and a jump in whistleblowing reports to the pensions regulator in the last year, it seems many employees are confident in disclosing wrongdoing in the workplace, so why isn’t the law protecting them in the way the policy is intended to do so?

A recent NHS report found a junior doctor was treated unfairly after an associate company of the NHS responsible for his training and career progressions questioned his performance and conduct. Whilst it was argued that the body wasn’t an employer of the worker and no wrongdoing was found on their behalf, the 2013 revision states that unfair treatment of colleagues or an agent is not allowed.

Concerns have also been raised across the pond in America with Edward Snowden – who leaked numerous classified NSA documents to the media – calling for an overhaul of the policy. Admittedly, Snowden’s leaks weren’t disclosed in the correct manor he highlights lack of employee protection and fear of retaliation as a reason for disclosures not always being made properly.

The whistleblowing policy is there to protect, but clearly more needs to be done to insure iron clad protection is provided for employees. A culture where employees feel confident speaking up should be created and they should have the confidence to do so without fear that their job could be put at risk.

Luke Hutchings is head of employment at Taylor Rose.

Meanwhile, with Benjamin Koh of CommInsure having just spilled the beans on the company’s wrongdoings – claiming doctors were pressured to change their opinions, outdated medical definitions were used to deny payouts and medical files disappeared – we take a look at how the act of whistleblowing could bring about corporate change.

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