Workers have a right not to be dismissed or subject to any detriment for ‘blowing the whistle’ on their employers by making a disclosure to a third party for any wrongdoing. The law also applies to third party contractors whose work is controlled by an employer.
The disclosure must be:
- A criminal offence
- A failure to comply with a legal obligation including a breach of the contract of employment
- A miscarriage of justice
- The health and safety of an individual is endangered
- The environment is being damaged
- Information concerning the above is deliberately being concealed
In order to qualify for the right to be protected under the legislation, there are a number of procedures which must be followed and the disclosure must be made in good faith.
If a worker is dismissed for making a disclosure from the list above, the dismissal will be automatically unfair. There is no limit to the compensation which may be awarded. This right exists from day one of the employment contract so the normal 2 years’ continuous employment rule does not apply. A worker is also protected from any detrimental action short of dismissal.