We want you to know that you are not alone, in 2012/13 there were 2,516 claims including applications under Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA), and the majority of these claimants had to raise the issue a couple of times before they were listened to.
You also need to be prepared for some sort of backlash from your organisation. As a whistleblower, you have protection in law and after a whistleblowing claim you should not be subjected to any detriment as a result however various forms of detriment are likely, and this may include things like bullying and harassment, loss of seniority, a pay freeze etc. The law provides this protection but the stark reality of bringing a whistleblowing claim means it is likely your employer will want to try and find a legitimate way to dismiss you. Too many of the whistleblowers we speak to are not fully prepared for this backlash.
It’s an unfortunate fact that EIGHT in ten whistleblowers in the UK have been victimised at work – with half being fired or losing their jobs.
But it’s important to remember that you are protected in law, and that’s when you should talk to a solicitor who is sympathetic to, and understands, whistleblowing.
That said, there are a number of things that you need to be aware of, this simple guide will help to protect you:
- Remember that not all, but some high-profile whistleblowing cases do impact the individual making the claim, so you do need to think about the risks before you act.
- Check whether your employer has a whistleblowing policy and follow this where possible.
- Ensure you make your protected disclosure in writing – too many whistleblowers we speak to have no evidence that they actually raised a protected disclosure in the first place – this makes it easier for your employer to deny you raised a whistleblowing disclosure in the first place.
- We know that keeping something like this to yourself isn’t easy, if you really have to tell someone be absolutely certain you can trust them.
- Documentary evidence is critical to any whistleblowing claim, so we highly recommend that you copy any evidence or documentation that you can (if the evidence is electronic or emails, then print off copies).
- Remember that the identity of whistleblowers and informants is usually done anonymously; any external body or agency will not normally disclose your details without your permission. There are some circumstances where they may have to disclose your identity such as: when the police or other government enforcement agencies become involved, or in court (in connection with proceedings).
- A whistleblower should be aware that his/her identity may be disclosed by the organisation or colleagues that the whistleblowing is about.
- Once you have blown the whistle, do not make any telephone calls about it from your place of work, use a personal phone. Act normally, don’t give yourself away by saying or doing things differently.
- You may wish to take independent legal advice or contact Whistleblowers UK for additional independent advice.