Changes to whistleblowing laws

The government has announced further amendments to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, to stengthen the protection available to whistleblowers. The amendments will:-

  • make employers responsible for detrimental acts of co-workers against colleagues who blow the whistle, thus reversing the decision of the Court of Appeal in NHS Manchester v Fecit
  • but introduce a ‘statutory defence’, to protect employers who take all reasonable steps to prevent such detrimental action (thus mirroring provisions that already exist under equality legislation)

Employment minister Jo Swinson said that the change to whistleblowing laws would have no impact on “good employers who see it as their responsibility to make sure their staff have a good working environment”.

Legal protection for whistleblowers was introduced in the UK in 1999 as an amendment to the Employment Rights Act 1996 (“ERA 1996”). Under the ERA 1996, employees who make disclosures of certain types of information, including evidence of illegal activity or health and safety issues, are protected from being disadvantaged at work by their employers such as dismissal or being passed over for promotion. Furthermore, if an employee is dismissed for making a protected disclosure, then the dismissal is automatically unfair.

For more information, see .

For further details on whistleblowing, please contact our employment law solicitors in Canary Wharf, London for a confidential discussion on a whistleblowing matter on 0207 956 8699 or email