Supporting People who Speak Out

UK law fails to adequately protect whistleblowers and compensate them for retaliation, new study shows

The UK law that was designed to protect whistleblowers from retaliation in the workplace is inadequate and does not meet most international standards, according to a new report published by international NGO Blueprint for Free Speech and the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Protecting Whistleblowers in the UK: A New Blueprint demonstrates that the UK’s Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA) lacks specific measures to shield employees from being fired and harassed if they report crime or corruption occurring in their workplace. It finds that PIDA is not effective in stopping whistleblowers from being targeted, and lacks penalties for managers and co-workers who retaliate against whistleblowers. In practice, it requires whistleblowers to be victimised before they can act on their rights and seek protections.

These failings are due to gaps in the law itself. The report analysed PIDA and found it scored 38.5 out of a possible 104 points (37%) when measured against 26 internationally recognised whistleblower protection standards. The report warns against modelling draft legislation on the existing UK laws without modifying to compensate for its flaws.

According to the report, unfair dismissal cases taken to Employment Tribunals typically take 20 months to reach a decision, and median compensation totals £17,422.

The report outlines 20 reforms which would help to improve the situation for whistleblowers in the UK. It provides a blueprint for countries looking to draft best practice legislation.

Click here for a link to the report: