In layman’s terms, an act of whistleblowing includes a disclosure to your employer of something that shows that a legal obligation has been breached. If you are subjected to a detriment or dismissed in consequence of this disclosure, you have a potential claim to the Employment Tribunal with financial value attributable to that claim. A more detailed and legal explanation is as follows:
A relevant disclosure of information is a disclosure of information that you, as a worker have made, that is made in the public interest, and, in your reasonable belief, tends to show one or more of the following:
- a person has failed, is failing or is likely to fail to comply with a legal obligation to which he is subject;
- a criminal offence has been committed, is being committed or is likely to be committed;
- a miscarriage of justice has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur;
- the health and safety of an individual has been, is being or is likely to be endangered;
- the environment has been, is being or is likely to be damaged; or
- in relation to any of (1) to (5), above, that information has been or is likely to be deliberately concealed.
If you are an employee and you are dismissed for having made a protected disclosure, you may succeed in bringing a claim for automatic unfair dismissal under the Employment Rights Act, section 103A. In these circumstances, you do not need 2 years of service, which you normally do, unfair dismissal.
Similarly, if you are a worker (the definition of which is broader than an employee) and have been subjected to a detriment on the ground that you have made a protected disclosure which does not constitute a dismissal, you may succeed in bringing a claim under claim under the Employment Rights Act 1996, section 47B and section 48. Again, you would not need two years of service in order to do so.