Until now, there has been no requirement for whistle blowing to be in the public interest. But that all changes with effect from today, June 25 2013.
Nicola Rabson, employment partner at Linklaters came onto Radio 4 to walk the cat back on the Amendments to the employment rights act.
As the law stands - If an employee blows the whistle and unveils a "protected disclosure" then his or her employer cannot treat them any differently by reason of the fact they've blow the whistle.
Four key changes to the law
1- disclosure has to be in the public interest. It cannot just be a personal grievance.
Come by reason of a number of cases.
Thereby the hurdle has been raised for any disclosure.
2. Motivation is now irrelevant. Even if the employee doesn't like employer, as long as the revelation is in the public interest it will be a regarded by the law as a "protected disclosure".
3. if you're employee and you find employee has blown whistle, you cannot treat them differently. You are liable for your actions and the whistle blower can actually sue you for those hostile actions.
Nicola called this an "interesting change"
4. As an employer, unless an employer takes reasonable steps to prevent hostile actions, the employer can be vicariously liable.
What are "reasonable steps" steps? Unknown as of but likely to mean training and awareness meeting.
There is no definition of "public interest". This will only come through the courts and judge made law. Need precedent.
Asked about the number of whistle blowing incidents, Nicola said the change in law would have little effect.
She also appeared on BBC 5 Live
As well as BBC world news
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