Are Whistleblowers being Forcibly Silenced?
Reports suggest that one in ten UK workers have had a serious concern about malpractice in the last two years. To what extent are they being prevented from speaking out?
Whilst general attitudes towards whistleblowers may have improved, this is unmatched by the legal landscape which is arguably becoming more hostile for those who wish to raise their concerns.
Legal aid cuts, the introduction of Employment Tribunal fees and reduced access to free legal advice have all combined to make the tribunal process more daunting for claimants and lessened their prospects of success. Inevitably, these changes particularly affect unrepresented whistleblowers since the complex legal landscape is hard to navigate alone.
Niki Avraam, Employment Partner comments: Potential hurdles for whistleblowers extend beyond issues of access to the Employment Tribunal. A disclosure of information does not qualify for protection if the person making the disclosure commits an offence by making it. This does not only apply to a narrow set of circumstances, such as those involving information protected by the Official Secrets Act 1989. In fact, there is a vast array of statutory bars on disclosures (for example, those contained in the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and the Utilities Act 2000). The extent to which this is causing individuals to feel hampered in pursuing their concerns thereby leading to an unwillingness to speak out, is concerning.
Howat Avraam Solicitors provide Commercial, Employment and Contract Dispute advice to companies and business owners. As business owners ourselves, we have a pragmatic in-house approach to resolving issues before they arise by working alongside our clients. We are commercial, practical and entrepreneurial in our approach to legal services.
To discuss any employment matter on a no obligation basis, please contact Niki Avraam, Employment Partner, on 020 7884 9194 or email Niki at Niki.Avraam@hasolicitors.co.uk. Alternatively, visit our website at www.howatavraamsolicitors.co.uk.
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