Whistleblowing laws need urgent reform, says cross-party group

The all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on whistleblowing today released a report drawing on evidence from over 300 whistleblowers, urging the government to reform the law.

15 Jul 2019| News

As it stands, legislation designed to protect workers from detriment when they speak out about wrongdoing by their employer is too weak and leaves whistleblowers exposed to abuse at work, the report warns.

The APPG heard evidence of instances in which whistleblowers had been blacklisted, gagged with non-disclosure agreements, lost their jobs, faced pay cuts, had their reputations ruined and been forced to fork out for expensive legal action as a result of going public with their concerns.

“Every whistleblower headline exposes another failure of existing legislation, and as we look to the future, we must ensure that the UK is a secure and ethical place to do business and to work,” the report said.

“Despite the undisputed benefits to society, there remains a backlash by organisations towards whistleblowing, resulting in stigmatisation and victimisation of whistleblowers,” it warned, adding that the distress caused by this retaliation had led to mental health problems and even suicide attempts among workers.

Recommendations made by the APPG included an independent Office for Whistleblowers that would issue penalties to employers who broke the rules, as well as support whistleblowers, including through free legal advice.