Essential points

  • Whistleblowing essentially deals with protecting workers who expose wrongdoing within organisations, the protections are day one rights as no qualifying period is required.
  • A whistleblower is protected in law if the wrongdoing they disclose is in the public interest – this depends on the Chesterton test. This considers the number of people affected, the nature and impact of the wrongdoing and who the wrongdoer is.
  • To be protected, the whistleblower must be an employee, a worker, freelancer a trainee, an agency worker or a member of a Limited Liability Partnership. Certain individuals, including the genuinely self-employed, trustees and volunteers, are not covered by PIDA. 

  • Reporting a criminal offence, a health and safety risk, a risk to the environment, a miscarriage of justice, a company breaking the law, or covering up wrongdoing all count as whistleblowing, but personal grievances do not. 

  • Whistleblowers making a disclosure that qualifies for protection can bring a tribunal claim if they are treated unfairly or lose their job for doing so.  They can either bring an unlawful detriment or unfair dismissal claim.  

  • Whistleblowers can report wrongdoing to their employer or to a prescribed person or body such as the Equality and Human Rights Commission. 

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Please note: While every care has been taken in compiling this content, CIPD cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. These notes are not intended to be a substitute for specific legal advice. 

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