Protection for whistleblowers
The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 protects workplace whistleblowers – people who reveal fraudulent or other unlawful behaviour – and has been strengthened with measures to prevent employers sacking staff who blow the whistle.
Under the Act, employers are barred from dismissing an employee who blows the whistle in accordance with the law. Their union can apply to the Circuit Court for an ‘interim relief order’ preventing dismissal. The court is able to order the immediate reinstatement of the employee in their own job, or a similar post with the same pay and conditions, pending the final determination of an unfair dismissal case.
Summary of key features:
- Compensation of up to a maximum of five years remuneration can be awarded in the case of an unfair dismissal for having made a protected disclosure.
- Limitations relating to the length of service that usually apply in the case of Unfair Dismissals are set aside in the case of protected disclosures.
- Where a whistleblower or, for example, a member of his family experiences coercion, intimidation, harassment, discrimination at the hands of a third-party the legislation provides for a right of action in tort against that person.