Whistleblowing: disclosures and legal protections

Exceptional technical knowledge particularly in whistleblowing cases.

The Legal 500
Employment Law for Individuals

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Whistleblowing is the term used when a worker passes on information about a wrongdoing in their workplace. You can raise your concern at any time about an incident that happened in the past, is happening now, or you believe will happen in the near future.

Although a whistleblower is entitled to a number of legal protections, whistleblowing – otherwise referred to as making a disclosure in the public interest – can be a courageous and risky course of action that may damage your career or lead to unfair dismissal. This is why you should seek expert legal advice at the earliest opportunity to avoid a potentially serious career setback.

At Penningtons Manches Cooper, our highly experienced team of employment lawyers will offer practical advice and support to workers who believe they may have been subjected to unfair treatment, harassment or victimisation, or been dismissed for making a disclosure that is in the public interest. Our aim will always be to help you to avoid pitfalls and prevent any potential reprisals and repercussions resulting from your whistleblowing. These could include demotion, restrictions to your role, withholding benefits or bonuses, pressure to resign or ‘cold shouldering’.

Fortunately, there are legal protections that provide the right for workers to take a case to an employment tribunal if they have suffered a detriment or been dismissed because they have ‘blown the whistle’. You are protected by law if you report any of the following: a criminal offence, failure to comply with a legal obligation, miscarriage of justice, health and safety infringement, damage to the environment or deliberate concealment of information relating to any of these.

However, personal grievances such as bullying, harassment and discrimination are not covered by whistleblowing law unless your particular case is in the public interest. These types of complaints should be reported via your employer’s grievance policy or bullying and harassment policy.

Whether or not a disclosure is covered by the whistleblowing legislation can be a complex question. Workers need to be sure that they are making the disclosure to the right category of person in order to be protected. These include their employer, HMRC, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and regulatory bodies such as the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). As there are additional obligations on regulated employers and workers in the financial services sector, this can be another complex area. Taking early legal advice on whistleblowing cases is therefore vital.

We offer expert advice on:

  • blowing the whistle – the process for making a protected disclosure
  • assessing your status as a whistleblower
  • asserting your rights as a whistleblower
  • when you are required to blow the whistle (make a protected disclosure)
  • employment tribunal claims for automatic unfair dismissal and unlawful detriment

Recent work highlights

Dispute between board and group companies

Representing a group of directors in a dispute with their multinational group of companies involving claims of fiduciary breach and whistleblowing.

Substantial settlement for CEO

Advising a chief executive on whistleblowing law following his discovery of financial wrongdoing, ensuring favourable financial terms, the retention of all stock, removal of post termination covenants and a non-executive position.

Exit strategy for senior executive whistleblower

Advising a senior executive on an exit strategy after raising whistleblowing allegations and discrimination, enabling him to negotiate and secure a substantial settlement and exit package.

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP