What is a whistleblower?

Whistleblowing protection applies to workers who report certain types of wrongdoing by the business(es) they work for.

The report has to be made in a specific way in order to be protected. You should always follow the business’ whistleblowing policies and procedures and report your concerns to them first, if you can.

We treat whistleblowing complaints carefully and maintain your anonymity where required; however, you may not qualify for legal protection if you report it to us first.

You’re a whistleblower:

  • if you’re a worker; and
  • you report certain types of wrongdoing.

The wrongdoing you disclose must be in the public interest. This means it must affect others, for example the general public.

As a whistleblower you’re protected by law – you should not be treated unfairly or lose your job because you “blow the whistle”.

You can raise your concern at any time about an incident that happened in the past, is happening now, or you believe will happen in the near future.

Who is protected by law?

You’re protected if you’re a worker, but you should get independent advice if you’re not sure you’re protected. You can find out more from Citizens Advice, or seek your own legal advice from your local Citizens Advice or independent legal adviser.

A confidentiality clause or “gagging clause” in a settlement agreement is not valid if you’re a whistleblower.

Complaints that count as whistleblowing

You’re protected by law if you report any of the following:

  • a criminal offence, for example fraud;
  • someone’s health and safety is in danger;
  • risk or actual damage to the environment;
  • a miscarriage of justice;
  • the company is breaking the law, for example does not have the right insurance;
  • you believe someone is covering up wrongdoing.

Complaints that do not count as whistleblowing

Personal grievances (for example bullying, harassment, discrimination) are not covered by whistleblowing law, unless your particular case is in the public interest.

Who to tell and what to expect

You can tell your employer – they may have a whistleblowing policy that tells you what to expect if you report your concern to them. You can still report your concern to them if they do not have a policy.

CILEx Regulation will support and protect any whistleblower who raises a concern with us in good faith. Our Whistleblowing Policy sets out how we will deal with any reports of serious misconduct or risk to the public.

If you’re treated unfairly after whistleblowing

You can take a case to an employment tribunal if you’ve been treated unfairly because you’ve blown the whistle.

You can get free, confidential advice about protection from whistleblowing from ACAS plus further information from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), Citizens’ Advice, the whistleblowing charity `Protect‘ or your trade union.