Violence at Work (UK)

Need to 'Blow the Whistle'?

UK law recognises how important it is that employees 'Blow the Whistle' in circumstances in which they believe:

(1) The health and safety of any individual has been, is being, or is likely to be endangered

(2) A person has failed, is failing, or is likely to fail to comply with a legal obligation

(3) A criminal offence has been, is being, or is likely to be committed

(4) A miscarriage of justice has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur.

(5) The environment has been, is being, or is likely to be damaged

(6) Information showing the above has been, is being, or is likely to be deliberately concealed.

The law encourages employees to call public attention to such situations by protecting employees against all forms of recrimination from their employer.


Employees are fully protected against recriminations

The Public Interest Disclosure Act provides full protection for employees against all forms of recrimination by their employer consequent to the disclosure of any information to any party, provided the information passed was made:

  • In good faith, and in the belief that the information is true

  • Without the purpose of personal gain

  • In the belief that if it were to have been disclosed directly to the employer that the employee would suffer detrimental treatment, that the evidence would be concealed or destroyed, or where a previous disclosure to the employer has not resulted in a suitable response.

This 'protection' is not restricted to employees and includes agency staff and individual contractors as well.

Employees who are subjected to any form of detrimental treatment because of having made a "Protected Disclosure" can claim relief in employment tribunals. (Any dismissal would be automatically unfair and could also lead to a compensatory award or an order for re-employment.)

NB: Any agreement or Contract that attempts to prevent a 'protected disclosure' being properly made will be invalid.



Just because the law says that 'whistleblowers' are fully protected against recriminations doesn't mean that recriminations won't happen!

It can be a rough road.


Be prepared

Take advice.

Public Concern at Work is an organisation that provides FREE advice and assistance to individuals who are concerned about apparent danger or malpractice in the workplace.

Click here to read the PCaW advice on 'Whistleblowing'.


You can blow the whistle and remain anonymous

On 4/7/08, the McGill Daily announced a new web site called Wikileaks, which makes whistleblowers untraceable, so that they can leak documents without fear of being caught.

The Wikileaks site follows the format of Wikipedia, allowing anyone to create a new document page and providing space for public discussions and analysis of documents. The founders of the Wikileaks project are anonymous and the locations of the web site's servers are also unknown!

Wikileaks say they will "aid every government official, every bureaucrat, and every corporate worker, who becomes privy to embarrassing information that the institution wants to hide but the public needs to know. What conscience cannot contain, and institutional secrecy unjustly conceals, Wikileaks can broadcast to the world."

Click Here to visit the Wikileaks Web Site.