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Call for measures in employment law to protect whistleblowers

Published 09/05/2016

Calls have been made to ensure greater protection for whistleblowers
Calls have been made to ensure greater protection for whistleblowers

Current employment law fails to adequately protect whistleblowers and compensate them for retaliation, a study has suggested.

Authors Blueprint for Free Speech (BFS) said the Public Interest Disclosure Act (Pida) lacks specific measures to shield employees from the sack or harassment if they report crime, corruption, abuse or other alleged wrongdoing in the workplace.

The BFS said the law lacks sufficient bite to penalise those who retaliate against whistleblowers, and who are only given legal protection once they can demonstrate being victimised as a result of their actions.

The authors said PIDA "is not powerful enough to stop managers and co-workers from retaliating against workers after they've blown the whistle on illegal and unethical conduct".

Dr Suelette Dreyfus, international whistleblower expert and co-author of the report, said: "Pida has not kept pace with our understanding of how to protect whistleblowers or with increasingly advanced tactics for retaliation.

"The law, which was regarded internationally as a gold standard when it was passed in 1998, is not providing the protection it should. Whistleblowers ensure accountability, and when strong accountability measures are in place for the public and private sectors, corruption is prevented before it occurs."

The report coincides with the BFS and the Thomson Reuters Foundation hosting the inaugural Blueprint for Free Speech prizes at an awards ceremony in London, highlighting whistleblowers whose bravery and integrity have made a positive impact in the public interest.

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From Belfast Telegraph