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Better protection for whistleblowers #35

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Floppy opened this issue Jan 7, 2014 · 4 comments

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@Floppy
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commented Jan 7, 2014

Not sure what the current state of law is in the UK, but we might want to include something including the recommendations from http://whistleblowingnetwork.org/other-resources/europe-and-international/open-government-guide-whistleblower-protection/.

@PaulJRobinson

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commented Jan 7, 2014

There is already a lot of protection against unfair dismissal for
whistleblowing. See https://www.gov.uk/whistleblowing/overview for more but
the most interesting part is this bit:
Who isn’t protected

Workers aren’t protected from dismissal if:

  • they break the law when they report something (eg they signed the
    Official Secrets Act)
  • they found out about the wrongdoing when someone wanted legal advice
    (‘legal professional privilege’) - eg if they’re a solicitor

Workers who aren’t employees https://www.gov.uk/employment-status can’t
claim unfair dismissal because of whistleblowing, but they’re protected and
can claim ‘detrimental treatment’.

@Floppy

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commented Jan 7, 2014

Interesting. I'd be concerned not about unfair dismissal, but protection from prosecution for whistleblowers. Perhaps we should be adding something protecting people who do break the law when whistleblowing. The link above has something to say on that front. Official Secrets Act is a case in point, though obviously it's a tricky one.

@philipjohn

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commented Jan 7, 2014

No idea if it'd be workable but is there room for an act specifically aimed at trying to define the "public interest" which could include protections against prosecution for whistleblowing in the public interest. You might even say it could provide guidance along the lines of a "civil reasonable suspicion" test that potential whistleblowers can use to try and figure out whether breaking the law would be justified based on what their suspicions/evidence are. I.e. similar to what a judge would go through in issuing a warrant.

...and yes, I understand the kind of can of worms the suggestion might well unleash :)

@Floppy Floppy added the policy label Jan 13, 2015

@Floppy Floppy added idea and removed policy labels Mar 12, 2017

@Floppy

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commented Mar 14, 2017

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