Blow the Whistle on Insufficient Protection
Whether you work in the public or private sector, if you “blow the whistle” on wrongdoing or malpractice by your employer (or a third party) which represents a threat to the public interest, the law offers you protection from dismissal or victimisation as a result of your whistleblowing.
Whistleblowing protection in the UK was introduced by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, which came into force on 2 July 1999 and inserted sections 43A to 43L and 103A into the Employment Rights Act 1996.
On 3 March 2017 the European Commission launched a consultation to obtain and collect information from the European public about their opinions and experiences of current whistleblower protections. The European Commission will be questioning whether the current safeguards are adequate across all member states and reviewing whether further protections should be implemented.
The European Commission will be making enquiries of interested parties, in both the public and private sector, as to their experiences of the current protections and the consultation will run until 29 May 2017.
The consultation aims to look at issues on both a national and European level and review the differing legislative protections in EU member states: The European Commission wants to ensure a minimum level of protection across all member states.
At the heart of the consultation is Article 11 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which safeguards the freedom of expression, including an individual’s right “to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers”. Malicious or vexatious claims are strictly discouraged, but the European Commission recognises that employees who have real and creditable concerns should feel safe to voice these concerns and legislation should support this.
With the UK hotly anticipated to trigger Article 50 in March, it will be interesting to see whether the findings of the consultation impact on UK whistleblowing legislation post Brexit.
For more information contact our employment team on 0345 070 6000.