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More protection is needed for those who expose wrongdoing and malpractice at work

The Law Society has recently called for extended protection for whistleblowers in the UK. Recent scandals have highlighted the need for greater protection for people who blow the whistle on malpractice and illegality at work. It has been noted that the government needs to encourage more people to come forward to expose wrongdoing.

The Law Society further asserted that partners in firms, volunteers, officeholders, job applicants and members of the armed forces are not entitled to protection under the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Desmond Hudson, chief executive of the Law Society commented: “Recent high-profile cases have shown that those who are trying to do a public good are not getting the support they deserve. The government needs to strengthen the whistleblowing framework so that it offers real protection to anyone who sticks their head above the parapet to expose wrongdoing.”

According to the Law Society, there is a higher risk of failure for organisations that do not encourage whistleblowing and maintained that both shareholders and regulators should be concerned if the organisations they oversee do not encourage whistleblowing.

The Employment Lawyers Association supports the Law Society in regards to the notion that legislation needs to be changed as current conditions are discouraging whistleblowers from coming forward.

Policy Director of Public Concern at Work, Francesca West, spoke at an event on whistleblowing at the Open Government Partnership summit, held in London on 31st October and 1st November.

“The law that we have in the UK is employment protection and it can only get you so far,” she commented, “It only steps in when damage has already been done to the whistleblower.”

The government has promised to ensure that whistleblowers are safe from reprisal as part of a series of pledges to achieve greater openness.

However, like the Law Society, the Public Concern at Work is also calling for a greater role to be assigned to regulators, combined with the implementation of a code of conduct underpinned by legislation.




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