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Employment Contracts, Policies & Procedures

Whistleblowing

A whistleblowing policy allows your staff to report any wrongdoing or malpractice to you. Our employment solicitors can help you create a policy for your business that explains how your employees can ‘blow the whistle’ and how your business will handle protected disclosures in compliance with the law.

Although you aren’t legally required to have a whistleblowing policy, having one shows your employees you’re willing to listen and act on their concerns and have a process to address them. This helps to create a positive work environment and open the lines of communication between you and your staff.

A clear policy helps you resolve issues internally and avoid legal claims from employees who have made protected disclosures. We’ll work with you to put a policy in place that’s easy to implement and protects your business.

Contact us on 0808 271 2602 or online to talk about how we can help you with a whistleblowing policy.

What Common Whistleblowing Issues Could I Face?

It’s not always easy to determine if an employee is raising a grievance or is making a protected disclosure. Getting this wrong can put you at risk of unfair dismissal and whistleblowing claims.

Whistleblowers are legally protected against unfair dismissal and poor treatment however long they’ve worked for you. You can face legal claims if you dismiss someone because they’ve raised a concern.

Not all complaints raised by employees are protected by whistleblowing legislation. Whistleblowing regulations only apply where employees raise certain issues in the public interest, such as:

  • Criminal offences (like fraud)
  • Not complying with a legal obligation (which can include complaints about their own contracts or working conditions if these also affect others in their workplace)
  • A failure of justice
  • Health and safety risks
  • Environmental damage.

Sometimes, employees who’ve worked for you for less than two years, try to claim that their dismissal was linked to a whistleblowing complaint to get unfair dismissal rights. If they’re successful, they can receive substantial compensation. They can also apply to an Employment Tribunal for interim relief payments. This means they have to be paid in full until their case is decided which can be many months down the line.

This is a costly and time-consuming process for any business and following a clear whistleblowing policy will minimise the risk of these types of claims.

It’s best to speak to our employment solicitors if you think you might be facing a whistleblowing situation. We can assess the situation and give you practical advice on how to solve the issue and remain legally compliant. Contact us on 0808 291 3535.

What Should I Include In My Whistleblowing Policy?

Your whistleblowing policy will vary depending on the size and nature of your business but will usually include:

  • An explanation of what whistleblowing is
  • Clear steps of how you will handle disclosures
  • What types of issues fall under whistleblowing
  • How to make a whistleblowing complaint and what support is available
  • A commitment to treat all whistleblowing complaints fairly and consistently
  • Encouragement for employees to raise concerns internally.

Having a clear whistleblowing policy creates a culture in which staff feel able to raise legitimate concerns about the business, its practices and legal obligations without fear of repercussions. It also helps your business recognise and manage issues that it might not otherwise know about.

How Can Irwin Mitchell Help?

Our employment team can:

  • Advise on the most appropriate policy for your business
  • Prepare a new policy or edit an existing one to make sure it’s legally compliant
  • Train managers about how to manage whistleblowing situations
  • Help your business to deal with any employment claims where the employee alleges they have made a protected disclosure.

We’ve helped businesses of all sizes create whistleblowing policies. We’ll work with you to create policies that suit your organisation and allow your staff to come forward without worrying about the consequences.

Contact our team today online or call 0808 271 2602 to discuss your situation.

Why Choose Irwin Mitchell?

Our employment team are recognised as industry leaders by independent legal guides like Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners. We’re known for giving practical, commercially-minded advice to protect your business.

Dealing with a whistleblowing situation can be incredibly stressful and we understand how this could affect your business and staff. We’ll help you solve any immediate issues and continue to advise you so you can avoid them in future.

We have offices across the country so no matter where your business is based we can help. If you have a budget in mind, we’ll work to meet your expectations by offering flexible payment options including fixed fees, a retainer arrangement or a bank of hours you buy upfront.

Contact us today on 0808 271 2602 to discuss your situation.

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