Employers that choose to dismiss or pay off workplace whistleblowers could face further investigation from 6 April, when the current bar on employment tribunals (ETs) revealing any details of whistleblowing allegations outside of the tribunal process is lifted.
Under the new system, tribunals will be able to refer claims to the relevant regulatory authority, such as the Serious Fraud Office or Health and Safety Executive, for further investigation, reports human resources magazine Personnel Today.
It quotes Mark Hammerton, partner at international law firm Eversheds. “To date, even where allegations heard by an employment tribunal involved potentially serious fraud, health and safety breaches or financial irregularities, employment tribunals have been unable to pass them on,” he said.
“I would urge all employers to now review their current procedures and practices for dealing with whistleblowing claims and to ensure any such allegations are addressed as early as possible. Failure to do so could otherwise mean that employers learn of their alleged wrongdoings only once they have escalated to a formal external investigation.”
A report last week by the charity Public Concern at Work revealed that work safety is a top whistleblower concern and one of the most common reasons for whistleblower employment tribunals.