Whistleblowing Advice for Employees
At Lavelle Partners, we understand that those who are brave enough to raise a genuine concern regarding unlawful or dangerous conduct by their employer, should not be penalised for doing so.
Whether concerns are being raised in relation to the actions (or inactions) of a member of staff, a customer, or third-party, the information disclosed should be treated seriously and acted upon properly.
If you have yourself ‘blown the whistle’ for conduct you genuinely believed was illegal or posed a risk to others and have been treated poorly or retaliated against as a response, our specialist team of Solicitors will be able to assist you. We will listen carefully to the details of your case and advise you of your next legal options. And if you choose to engage our services, you can be assured our team has the experience and determination to defend your best interests and, where necessary, rebuild your sound reputation.
What is the law on whistleblowing in Ireland?
In Ireland, this area of law is covered by the Protected Disclosures Act 2014. This Act states that if an employee discloses relevant information, which they believe to be true, including one or more wrong doings in relation to their employment, they are afforded protection under law. Wrong doings which may be disclosed include:
- an offence has been, is being or is likely to be committed,
- a person has failed, is failing or is likely to fail to comply with any legal obligation,
- a miscarriage of justice has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur,
- the health or safety of any individual has been, is being or is likely to be endangered,
- the environment has been, is being or is likely to be damaged,
- an unlawful or otherwise improper use of funds or resources of a public body, or of other public money, has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur,
- an act or omission by or on behalf of a public body is oppressive, discriminatory or grossly negligent or constitutes gross mismanagement, or
- information tending for any of the above matters has been, is being or is likely to be concealed or destroyed.
What protection is afforded by the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 and the Protected Disclosures (Amendment) Act 2022?
The 2014 Act prevents employers from seeking to penalise or threaten (or inciting another person to do so on their behalf) an employee who has made a protected disclosure. And if the employer attempts to dismiss the individual, this will be treated as unfair dismissal, under the Unfair Dismissals Act 1977.The 2014 Act contains a provision entitling an employee who has been dismissed for making a Protected disclosure to compensation of up to five years salary.
The 2014 Act also contains specific provisions enabling the Circuit Court to grant a statutory injunction restraining an employee’s dismissal in circumstances where they can demonstrate that their dismissal is as a consequence of the fact that they have made a protected disclosure.
The 2022 Act, which takes effect from January 2023, imposes a wide range of new obligations on employers in that they now must have a whistleblowing procedure as well as a broader definition of penalisation and a requirement for employers to put a whistleblowing procedure in place.
The required procedure for employers includes but is not limited to the following:
- Employers must set up a channel for workers to make a protected disclosure.
- Employers must establish procedures to investigate the protected disclosure.
- Employers must appoint a designated impartial person to follow up on disclosures matters and provide that person the appropriate training.
- Employers must acknowledge receipt of any protected disclosure in writing within 7 days of the disclosure being made.
- Feedback must be given to the worker within 3 months of the complaint except for extenuating circumstances where the disclosure that has been made is complex, whereby an additional 3 months may be allowed.
How Lavelle Partners can assist you in relation to whistleblowing matters
- For over 35 years, our team of employment law Solicitors, headed by Senior Partner, Marc Fitzgibbon, have been supporting whistle-blowers in the workplace. Over that time, we have developed an enviable reputation for providing legal excellence and empathetic support for our valued clients.
- Marc is a former member of the Law Society of Ireland’s Employment & Equality Law Committee and the European Employment Lawyers Association.
- We understand the emotional impact of uncertainty in relation to whistleblowing and will handle your case with the utmost empathy and determination to defend your rights.
- We can advise you either after making a protected disclosure, or before doing so; explaining your rights and options under law.
- From the first moment you speak to one of our workplace whistleblowing Solicitors, we will listen to your case carefully and with the greatest of empathy. Furthermore, we understand that whistleblowing matters need to be managed with the utmost confidentiality.
For further information on workplace whistleblowing in Ireland, please contact Lavelle Partners in confidence on (01) 644 5800.