Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 protects an employee from being dismissed or victimised by his/her employer for making a disclosure that is protected under the Act.

What is protected?

The worker must make a disclosure of information to be protected. The information disclosed must, in the reasonable belief of the worker, tend to show that one of the following has occured, is occurring, or is likely to occur:

  • A criminal offence
  • Breach of any legal obligation
  • Miscarriage of justice
  • Danger to the health and safety of any individual
  • Damage to the environment
  • The deliberate concealing of information about any of the above

The disclosure must also be made in the correct manner to the correct person. Specifically the disclosure must be made to either the employer or the person responsible for the particular area of concern, although external disclosures to third parties other than an employer may be protected in some cases.

Consequences of disclosure

If an employee is dismissed for making a disclosure, he/she can claim Automatic Unfair Dismissal. Two year’s service is not required in this type of case and the issue of reasonableness will not be considered. However the claim will still need to be submitted within three months minus one day of the dismissal date.

If an employee is victimised (e.g. denied training opportunities, demoted, denied promotion) because he/she made a disclosure, then a claim can be made to an Employment Tribunal for suffering a detriment. The claim will again need to be submitted within three months minus one day from the date of the detriment.

Please note that the above information is for guidance only. For fully comprehensive and tailored advice on Whistleblowing and how it could apply to you, please contact the Employment Law Team today.  

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