‘Whistle-blowing’ is making a ‘public interest disclosure’. UK law protects workers from being badly treated because they ‘blow the whistle’ on wrong-doing within their employer’s organisation.

Not everyone who alleges that their employer has done something wrong is protected in law. First, the ‘disclosure’ must relate to a specific matter involving a breach of the law, such as criminal activity or a health and safety issue. It must be made to the employer, or to a regulatory body – and in some cases, press. The law has recently been changed to require that the disclosure must be in the public interest – so that it will not be enough for a worker to argue that their own rights have been infringed.

If an employer does take action against a worker for making a protected disclosure, such as dismissing them or victimising them, the worker will have the right to make a complaint to an employment tribunal.

Chris, who is a health and safety representative, complains to his employer about working conditions and alleges that worker’s lives are being put at risk. His employer responds by refusing Chris the opportunity to work overtime. This is a detriment, and Chris can make a complaint to an employment tribunal.

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Updates: For employers: Grievances | Tribunals | For employees: Grievances and raising your complaint | Tribunals |

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