Businesses should have a thorough whistleblowing policy in place to ensure they are protected from potentially unlimited claims, an expert has warned.
Stacey Barlow, solicitor in the employment team at Blackpool-based Napthens solicitors, is advising businesses that the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 has now come into force, bringing with it a range of changes to legislation relating to whistleblowing.
In light of these changes, businesses must ensure they have a thorough policy in place to protect them from potentially uncapped claims for unfair dismissal.
She warns that business owners should also make sure managers and supervisors know how to handle situations where a worker has made a ‘protected disclosure’ in an appropriate manner.
She explained: “The act introduces a number of important changes immediately.
“For instance, a worker must believe their disclosure is in the public interest to be protected by the act, but their motives, whether they make the disclosure in good faith or not, is now irrelevant.
“Furthermore, from the summer, changes will be introduced to make an employer liable for a worker’s actions if they victimise a colleague for making a protected disclosure.
“However, protection is often available for businesses if they can prove they took all reasonable steps to prevent victimisation, for instance by having an up-to-date whistleblowing policy.”