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Why we need a legal duty on employers

Workplace whistleblowing: Why we need a legal duty on employers

About the report

Protect’s report, ‘Why we need a legal duty on employers‘ has been published as part of our ongoing campaign, ‘Let’s Fix UK Whistleblowing Law’ to reform the Public Interest Disclosure Act.

Currently, there is no universal requirement for employers to have in place whistleblowing channels or to investigate serious public interest concerns raised by their staff.

The report highlights the key finding from YouGov research that UK workers – 76% – want to see all employers have whistleblowing standards in place and 80% agreed employers should face sanctions for breaching those standards.

‘Let’s Fix UK Whistleblowing Law’ recognises that alongside improving rights for workers there is the need to impose responsibilities on employers. A legal duty on all employers would mean every employer has in place whistleblowing channels, and investigates concerns. The legal duty would also protect whistleblowers from victimisation with sanctions or penalties if this duty is breached.

A panel debate with panelists from the Institute of Business Ethics, ACAS, the Wellcome Trust, the National Guardian’s Office, and the Work Foundation took place on 20 September.

About Protect

For almost 30 years, we have run a confidential Advice Line for whistleblowers, and to date have supported more than 45,000 whistleblowers across all sectors.

Report recommendations

  • Introduction of a legal standard on employers to have whistleblowing arrangements in place, including a requirement to give whistleblowers feedback on the concerns raised
  • A penalty regime where an organisation can be fined or sanctioned for breaching the whistleblowing standards.
  • New legal standards on all regulators to ensure they deal effectively and promptly with whistleblowing concerns being raised to them – and regulators doing much more to drive up standards of whistleblowing arrangements amongst entities they regulate
  • Legal aid and reform to whistleblowing law is needed to ensure that whistleblowers who are treated badly or dismissed have an effective remedy.

Download the report

Click below to read the report in full

Campaign for a new whistleblowing law

Learn more about our campaign to improve the legal protection for whistleblowers

Training and consultancy for organisations

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