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Education worker bullied for raising health and safety concerns

Mary (not their real name) worked at an independent school for children with special educational needs. She was only there only a short time when she started having a number of health and safety concerns about the school. Mary never received appropriate any health and safety training from the organisation, despite being designated the lead … Read more

Mental health worker speaks out over poor patient care

Gillian (not her real name) worked for the NHS for over 20 years. She worked with patients with acute mental illness. Gillian had concerns about poor patient care. This included poor communication, a failure to engage with vulnerable patients, nurses turning up to work late and leaving early, nurses falling asleep on shift, and low … Read more

Finance worker speaks up over fake charges to clients

Patrick worked as an adviser in the financial services industry. He was concerned that his employer had been breaching Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulations for a number of years. In particular, Patrick’s firm was charging clients for advice that it had not given and it assessed the performance of its employees by using targets that … Read more

Nurse speaks up over medicine maladministration at care home

“Delia (not her real name) worked as a nurse at a care home. Delia witnessed numerous incidents regarding the maladministration of medicine. This included overstocking out of date medication and the administration of overdue and incorrect medication. She raised her concerns with her manager in the first instance, and escalated this to the care home … Read more

Food supplier fails to test food hygiene

Denise (not her real name) was a manager for a food supplier in the airline industry. Denise’s employer had reduced the number of staff on her team which meant that she and her remaining co-workers did not have capacity to conduct food and hygiene tests on goods. This risked leaving the food unsafe to eat so Denise raised her concern to her line manager but she was ignored and later dismissed.

We advised that Denise now contact either the Food Standards Agency or the local authority as the employer was not taking action. We also advised that the concerns would likely fall within the scope of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 so she could bring a legal claim for her dismissal. We highlighted that the short time between raising concerns and being dismissed strengthened her argument that she was dismissed for whistleblowing. We suggested that she seek support from her trade union before submitting a claim in the Employment Tribunal.

Food producer exposes goods to contamination

Blake (not his real name) worked as an engineer for a food producer. He was concerned that products were not being properly cleaned during production and goods were being exposed to contaminated water and excess chemicals. He also told us that the warehouse where he worked did not have a safe fire alarm system.

Blake raised his concerns confidentially to the CEO but no action was taken – instead, he was threatened with disciplinary action. Blake raised concerns to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), but the employer was given enough notice of an investigation to superficially address the concerns. Blake was forced to resign and sought advice on making a claim for constructive dismissal. 

We identified that Blake was fast approaching the time limit for bringing a claim so we suggested that he try to argue that he had suffered a continuing act of detriment over many months and seek urgent advice from his Trade Union. The HSE had since revisited the warehouse on several occasions and Blake was satisfied that the regulator was taking action. Blake submitted his claim in the Employment Tribunal in time and his case is to be heard in late 2020.

Food manufacturer sells out of date and illegal food

Allan (not his real name) worked for a manufacturer of international food products. He was concerned by a number of incidents that he had witnessed. He told us that use-by-dates on products were regularly removed and changed, and illegally imported products were hidden during inspections from Trading Standards. He was also concerned that colleagues were made to work with chemicals without the proper training and protective equipment. Allan had tried to raise concerns with the owner of the business, but was told that this was the only way that the company could make a profit. Allan called Protect for advice.

We reassured Allan that he had done the right thing by highlighting the concerns to the owner. We suggested that he now speak either to the Food Standards Agency or the local authority who could conduct an investigation without drawing attention to him. He could first have a hypothetical conversation with them to understand what action they might take. We explained Allan’s legal rights as a whistleblower and how he could bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal if he was victimised.

Care workers help to stop abuse of vulnerable residents

Simon (not his real name) worked as a senior care assistant. He observed one of the nurses slap residents and, on one occasion, he saw the nurse put his hands around a resident’s neck and force them into their room. Simon could only hear a scream and some banging after this. Simon did not want to raise his concerns to the new manager because other employee’s concerns had been ignored and confidentiality breached.

We discussed Simon’s options and advised that he speak with the deputy manager in confidence. She took his concerns seriously and, soon after, other workers came forward with similar incidents that they had witnessed. The nurse was later convicted and sentenced to two years in prison.

Simon wrote to us some time later and said,

“Your advice and support were invaluable at this time… I never regretted my actions… [My colleagues and I] got through this ordeal by supporting each other and in the knowledge that we were doing the right thing.”

Whistleblower exposed to asbestos speaks up to regulator

Tom (not his real name) worked for an asbestos removal company for several years. A foreman in the company was ignoring the safety procedures for handling asbestos and failed to test a connecting room where Tom was working. This exposed Tom to white asbestos and he contacted Protect for advice.

We advised Tom to seek advice from his GP to create a record of his medical concerns, particularly as asbestos symptoms can develop slowly. Tom had previously raised concerns to an analyst so we advised him to write to her to confirm their telephone conversation. We explored Tom’s personal situation and the outcome he most desired, and we explained his options were either to raise his concerns internally, leave the company and raise his concerns to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), or take advice from a personal injury specialist. We also suggested that he ask the HSE how they were likely to respond to a concern such as this before providing them with all of the details.

Tom decided to find a new job and raise his concerns to the HSE. He thanked us for our advice which he said had been very helpful.

Unsafe food practices resolved by whistleblower speaking up

David (not his real name) was a maintenance engineer at a large UK food manufacturer. The company was in the process of transferring its production to a new building which involved using welding equipment and potentially hazardous cleaning materials. David was concerned that this could contaminate food on the production line. He worried that management and maintenance supervisors had ignored the contamination and hygiene hazards, despite other employees having similar concerns.

We advised David to raise the concern internally either to his supervisor or a responsible senior manager. They were not fully aware of the situation so David could explain his concerns and recommend closing the food line during the transfer. If no action was taken, he could consider contacting the Food Standards Agency.

David spoke to senior management who agreed with his concerns. They provided training to the relevant parties and stopped the transfer during production hours.