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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.

Fraud in family company puts whistleblower in difficult position

Jin (not his real name) was the personnel manager for a family-run engineering firm.

In the past, the family managers of the company had used company money to pay for private work done on their own homes. Jin had let this pass as it was a family business but two employees recently told him that the scale of these private works was becoming extensive. Jin was worried about raising this to the Board of non-executive directors because the company managers had a well-earned reputation as hard men in the local community. He rang Protect for advice.

We advised Jin that if he wanted to stay with the firm, the best option was to raise the concern with the family managers. By referring to the fact that staff were talking about it and the risk that they might report the wrongdoing elsewhere, he could help the family understand that the private works should be stopped. This approach made his role part of the solution so it was unlikely he would be victimised. We explained his rights under whistleblowing law in the event he was dismissed. The alternative option was for Jin to find a new job elsewhere and then raise the concern.

Jin thanked us for the advice. He decided to resign from the company and raised his concerns once he secured new employment.