Whistleblowing is when an employee reports suspected wrongdoing at work. Officially this is called 'making a disclosure in the public interest'.
An employee can report things that aren't right, are illegal or if anyone at work is neglecting their duties. Types of whistle blowing are detailed later on in this policy.
How to 'blow the whistle'
The way an employee can 'blow the whistle' on wrongdoing depends on whether they feel they can tell their employer.
(1) If they feel they can, they should contact their employer about the issue they want to report
(2) If they can't tell their employer, they should contact a prescribed person or body
An employee can only tell the prescribed person or body if they think their employer:
- Will cover it up
- Would treat them unfairly if they complained
- Hasn't sorted it out and they've already told them
Dismissals and Whistleblowing
An employee can't be dismissed because of whistleblowing. If they are, they can claim unfair dismissal - they'll be protected by law as long as certain criteria are met.
Types of whistleblowing eligible for protection
These are called 'qualifying disclosures'. They include when someone reports:
- That someone's health and safety is in danger
- Damage to the environment
- A criminal offence
- That the company isn't obeying the law (like not having the right insurance)
- That someone's covering up wrongdoing
Who is protected?
The following people are protected:
- Agency workers
- People that are training with an employer, but not employed
- Self-employed workers, if supervised or working off-site
An employee will be eligible for protection if they honestly think what they're reporting is true and they think they're telling the right person.
Blowing the Whistle to a Prescribed Person
The prescribed bodies or persons
If you decide to blow the whistle to a prescribed person rather than your employer, you must make sure that you have chosen the correct person or body for your issue.
Below is a list of the prescribed people and bodies who you can make a disclosure to.
Business, Finance or Fraud
The Commissioners for Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) about the following areas:
- National Insurance contributions
- Statutory sick pay
- Tax credits
- Enforcement of the national minimum wage
HM Revenue and Customs
Cardiff CF14 5GX
Tel: free phone 0800 788 887 Fax: free fax 0800 783 0879 Text phone: 0845 915 3296
Environment and Pollution
The Environment Agency about environmental issues in England or Wales including pollution, abstraction of water, flooding, the flow of rivers, inland fisheries and migratory salmon or trout
The Environment Agency
Bristol BS1 5AH
Tel: 03708 506 506
Health and Safety
The Health and Safety Executive about health or safety at work or the health and safety of the public in connection to
Health and Safety Executive
Online form: www.hse.gov.uk/contact/workplace-complaint.htm
Tel: 0300 0031647
Your local authority about the health or safety of any individual at work or the health and safety of the public in connection to a workplace
The Gas and Electricity Markets Authority about the generation, transmission, distribution and supply of electricity or the transportation, shipping and supply of gas through pipes
The Gas and Electricity Markets Authority
Tel: 020 7901 7000