The Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA) means it is unlawful to subject someone to a detriment or to dismiss them because they have raised a whistleblowing concern in the workplace. PIDA is now part of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (“ERA”). If you have suffered detriment or been dismissed because you have blown the whistle at work, you may have the right to bring a claim at the Employment Tribunal.
What is a detriment?
The law doesn’t clearly define detrimental treatment. It may include being demoted or sidelined at work, having your pay reduced, being given no work, finding yourself left out of meetings or ignored by colleagues, or it may be that disciplinary action is taken against you on unfair charges. It is negative treatment of any kind which is targeted at an individual for whistleblowing.
You may have a claim in tribunal if you are subjected to any detriment because you have blown the whistle on wrongdoing. This can include detrimental treatment you receive from a co-worker as well as from your employer.
There are different tests for dismissal and detriment claims. If you are dismissed by your employer for raising concerns you need to show that the reason or principal reason for your dismissal was the whistleblowing.
To bring a claim for detriment you will need to show that there is a causal link between the whistleblowing and the detriment: the whistleblowing was a material factor in the detriment occurring
No – workers (including agency workers) as well as employees are protected (S43K ERA). The definition of worker in PIDA is wider than in other areas of the law – so it is worth checking if you are covered. However, self-employed people, volunteers and job applicants (other than in the NHS) are not covered. More information is available here.
No. PIDA applies from day one of employment. For many employment claims, including ordinary unfair dismissal, two years’ service is required. However, if you are dismissed or treated badly because you have blown the whistle on wrongdoing at work, then you don’t need any length of service. It is an “automatically unfair” dismissal if you can show that the reason or principal reason is your whistleblowing (S103A ERA). This includes where you have been selected and dismissed for redundancy because you made a protected disclosure.