Legal Protection for Whistleblowers

 

The Protected Disclosures Act was passed on 15 July 2014.  The Protected Disclosures (Amendment) Act 2021 is due to be passed into Irish law by 17 December 2021 and will give effect to the changes required in the new 'EU Whistleblowing Directive'.

As an employee, you raise a concern (a ‘protected disclosure’) about workplace wrongdoing you will be entitled by law to claim protection.

IMPORTANT NOTICE

YOU CAN ONLY AVAIL OF THE PROTECTIONS UNDER THE LEGISLATION IF YOUR CONCERN IS A "PROTECTED DISCLOSURE" INVOLVING “RELEVANT WRONGDOING” AS DEFINED IN THE LEGISLATION.  NOT ALL WRONGDOING MAY COME WITHIN THIS DEFINITION.  SEE RAISEACONCERN.COM EASY GUIDE TO THE PROTECTED DISCLOSURES ACT 2014 FOR DETAILED DEFINITIONS

Generally speaking, a disclosure will be protected under the legislation where:

  • The wrongdoing has come to your attention in connection with your employment. It must not relate to someone’s personal life outside the workplace.
  • You reasonably believe that wrongdoing has taken place. Absolute proof is not necessary to raise a concern.

A protected disclosure may be made directly to your employer or to the person responsible for the wrongdoing. It may also be made to a third party nominated by your employer, such as Raiseaconcern. Furthermore, protected disclosures may be made in certain circumstances to legal advisers, trade union officials, certain public bodies, certain Government Ministers and, in more restricted circumstances, to other bodies such as the Press.

Protection applies if, as a result of raising your concern, you are penalised or threatened with penalisation by your employer or where your employer causes or permits any other person (such as a manager or fellow worker(s)) to penalise or threaten to penalise you.

Penalisation means any act or omission that affects you to your detriment and includes:

  • Suspension, lay-off or dismissal,
  • Demotion or loss of opportunity for promotion,
  • Transfer of duties, change of location of place of work, reduction in wages or change in working hours,
  • The imposition or administering of any discipline, reprimand or other penalty (including a financial penalty),
  • Unfair treatment,
  • Coercion, intimidation or harassment,
  • Discrimination, disadvantage or unfair treatment,
  • Injury, damage or loss, and
  • Threat of reprisal experienced by the whistleblower or their family at the hands of an employer or any third-party.

If your claim is successful, you can be awarded compensation of up to five years’ salary.

Further protection is also available where you have made a protected disclosure and a third party (such as another employee) causes ‘detriment’ to you or to another person (such as a member of your family). In those circumstances, you or the person affected may be in a position to take legal proceedings directly against the third party.

If you would like more information on the Protected Disclosures Act 2014, you can read our Easy Guide here, or the Act itself here.

Because your identity is not revealed when you use the services of Raiseaconcern, the likelihood of needing to claim the protection of legislation is reduced.

This project has been supported by Kildare Local Enterprise Office which is co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Union under Ireland's EU Structural Funds Programmes 2007 - 2013.