Freedom to Speak Up Review now Published

Sir Robert Francis QC announced on 2nd February 2015 that he had completed the ‘Freedom to Speak Up’ review and sent the final report to Secretary of State for Health. This review had they intention of “creating an open an honest reporting culture in the NHS” in relation to whistleblowing.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

This review has been released on 11th February 2015 and is available here.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

But where did this come from? Recent news reports have provided harrowing stories about NHS employees who have experienced bullying, harassment and even disciplinary proceedings as a result of disclosing workplace concerns to their employer.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

In order to compile his review Sir Francis asked anyone with an interest to share their experiences of whistleblowing and provide suggestions to improve the current ‘culture of fear’.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

The results have apparently been “shocking” with a significant number of NHS staff sharing their experiences of being ignored bullied or intimidated after making a disclosure, and feeling to afraid to speak up.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

So where do you stand legally in terms of making a whistleblowing claim? According to legislation, if an employee who makes a protected disclosure, that employee has a right not to be subjected to any detriment for making it.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

This can mean being subject to disciplinary proceedings e.g. suddenly your work performance is unsatisfactory when it was completely fine before the disclosure, or even a dismissal. Tribunal action can be brought against your employer if you are subject to the above, as long as a probable link is found between the disclosure and your subsequent treatment.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

But what if it is difficult to find that probable link? Much like the NHS staff, an employer could make your life very difficult as a result of making a disclosure, but can do so in such a way that if it was taken through the Tribunal, you would struggle to find that definitive evidence for a successful whistleblowing claim.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

There is also a potential for a Stress at Work claim but only if, as a result of the treatment you have received from your employer, it has caused you to suffer a psychological injury and have to take time off for work related stress.  I must note, however, that it is important that you do raise a formal complaint about your treatment with your employer before taking any time off so they are aware that you are feeling vulnerable.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

Hopefully this review will bring to light and hopefully improve conditions within the NHS. However, we do not all work for the NHS, and is important that you know where you stand legally in terms of whistleblowing and your rights.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

If you believe that you would benefit from legal advice on this matter or believe you may have a claim against your employer, please call us on 0844 499 9302 or click here to make a claim.

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