An employee makes a protected disclosure (sometimes called ‘whistle blowing’) when they report serious wrongdoing in the workplace that they reasonably believe is true or likely to be true.
This must be done in line with workplace policies for reporting serious wrongdoing. If there are no policies, then it should be reported to the head of the organisation (or to an appropriate authority in some circumstances). For more information on protected disclosures, visit the Office of the Ombudsman website.
If an employee makes a protected disclosure under the Protected Disclosures Act 2000 their employer can’t take disciplinary (or other action) against them. If an employer does take action against an employee for making a protected disclosure, then the employee:
- can raise a personal grievance.
- may be able to bring an action under the Human Rights Act 1993; if the employer treats the employee worse because they (or their relative or friend etc) intend to make, have made or encouraged someone else to make a protected disclosure.