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Under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 if an employee “blows the whistle” they will receive protection from being dismissed or victimised (by being subjected to a detriment) because of their whistleblowing.
A whistleblowing dismissal is automatically unfair and this right starts from day one of employment. Compensation is uncapped.
For a disclosure to be protected, it must contain information which, in the reasonable belief of the worker making the disclosure, is in the public interest and tends to show one of the factors listed in the Employment Rights Act 1996. These include criminal activity, failure to comply with legal obligations, miscarriages of justice, health and safety failings, environmental damage, or the concealing of any of these matters.
The claimant here was unsuccessful, but this case provided clarification on whether an allegation can be classed as information under the legislation. It was confirmed that an allegation can suffice if it contains sufficient factual content and specificity.
The Court of Appeal declined to give comprehensive guidance on what constitutes information in a disclosure. This is something that would be considered objectively by a tribunal or court in light of all the circumstances.