Whistleblowing for employers
There are a variety of situations we see where employers have failed in their duties. The most common revolve around:
A whistleblowing policy should set out procedures by which employees can confidentially report anxieties. The matter can relate to unethical, illegal or other unacceptable behaviour. The policy should enable any disclosure to bypass any management tier that may be involved.
A good whistleblowing policy alone is not enough. It is essential to provide appropriate training on the whistleblowing policy.
Often there is no training put in place to educate management on how the policy will work. Management should be aware that any ill-treatment of a whistleblower will result in disciplinary action.
Employers can overlook communication and the need to investigate quickly.
Common mistakes employers make with whistleblowing
These include :
- employers failing to keep the whistleblower up to date with the progress of investigating any issue raised by the employee.
- employers are not always aware that confidentially clauses in the employment documentation will not stop the employee from making an external disclosure. This is because confidentiality clauses are not enforceable on protected disclosures.
All employers should have a whistleblower policy
It’s correct to say that whistleblower policy is important for all employers, large or small but there are certain sectors and industries where a well thought out and drafted policy is essential. These include :-
- Charities and any organisation in the not for profit sector.
- Any organisation which works with young people and children, where safeguarding is imperative. So, schools, nurseries, clubs and organisations offering activities or services for children.
- Financial Services providers.
- In any regulated industry.
If you are an employer and need a whistleblowing policy drafted or reviewed or you need to ensure you have the right process in place and training for staff, our employment lawyers can help.Matt Gingell is a partner in the employment law team who has worked on a variety of whistle blowing allegations. Matt has experience in analysing evidence and use of fair procedures. He is also very experienced in dealing with unfair treatment in the workplace and finding appropriate solutions.