There has been a lot of talk about whistleblowing lately thanks to a high profile news story about an HM Revenue and Customs employee. He is now facing disciplinary procedures and possible prosecution for his whistleblowing and has caused massive embarrassment for his employer and their client.
Many employers think that whistleblowing laws do not apply to their businesses. However, they might be surprised to learn that whistleblowing can not only expose possible malpractice but it can also provide the whistleblower with an argument for unfair dismissal should the employer dismiss them.
If the employer dismisses the whistleblower, the whistleblower can bring a case against their employer for unfair dismissal before the usual one year limit. Worse still, they can also seek unlimited compensation which could effectively cripple some businesses.
For genuine whistleblowing to happen, an employee must reasonably believe that there is malpractice in the employer’s company.
These areas of malpractice are criminal offences, a breach of any legal obligation or miscarriages of justice. Other areas cover danger to an individual’s health and safety, damage to the environment or deliberately concealing information about any of the above.
Robert Tice, Partner and Head of Employment Law at Flint Bishop says: “Whistleblowing can not only cost businesses a lot of money, it can also damage their reputation and ruin client relationships.
“As a result, it is very important to have a whistleblowing policy in place – or at the very least procedures to deal with whistleblowing.
“A whistleblowing policy will ensure employees are aware of the right person to notify in any given situation and will allow concerns to be handled sensitively wherever possible.
“Most importantly, it will remind employees of their duty of confidentiality to both the company and its clients. It will also give employees the details on the stringent criteria that they must meet before their behaviour can be considered as genuine whistleblowing”.
If you’re interested in finding out more about whistleblowing criteria, policies and procedures for your business, please contact Robert Tice for a free confidential chat on 01332 226 149
Members can downlaod a whistleblowing policy here