victimised by employers - will get protection next month.
New regulations laid before parliament today will bring the
provisions of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 into force on
Minister of state at the DTI Ian McCartney said:
'The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 is intended to end the
'cover-up culture' that prevails in some organisations, where
workers fear victimisation if they tell their bosses of a major
'This legislation can help ensure that potential disasters are
averted and could save lives and prevent financial loss. Recent
transport disasters and banking collapses have underlined the
importance of openness and vigilance in identifying and resolving
problems at work.
'Where wrongdoing takes place it should be recognised and dealt with
as soon as possible. This is in the interests of all parties -
workers, employers and the public at large -and can only happen if
employers and employees work together.'
The Act has been widely welcomed by employer and worker
organisations. It will not only protect responsible workers who bring
attention to wrongdoing, but will also have wider benefits for the
identification and resolution of problems in the work place.
1. There are two sets of regulations:
One covers 'prescribed persons', which are organisations to whom a
worker may 'blow the whistle'.
Another sets out compensation for whistleblowers who are unfairly
dismissed, and this will not be subject to a monetary limit.
A further measure was laid - the commencement order - which provides
for the provisions of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 to come
into force on 2 July 1999. Similar measures will shortly be made for
2. The 1998 Act, which received royal assent last year, provides
remedies to employees who are dismissed or subjected to detriment for
making a disclosure about criminal offences, breaches of legal
obligation, miscarriages of justice, health and safety dangers,
environmental risk or any 'covers ups' relating to these matters.
3. There will be no limit on compensatory awards in cases of
dismissal, ensuring that employees at all levels of an organisation -
from the factory floor to the boardroom - will be fully compensated
if they lose their jobs for blowing the whistle.
4. The draft Bill was the subject of public consultation in December
1997-January 1998 - which showed that is was widely welcomed. The Act
does not place any specific requirements on employers, but it does
provide for disclosures to be protected when made via internal
procedures, and employers may wish to encourage the use of such
procedures as an effective means of identifying problems at an early