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Blog  »  July 2014  »  Irish whistleblowing legislation gets green light! - Blog
21
Jul 14

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Irish whistleblowing legislation gets green light!

The long awaited Protected Disclosure Act 2014, more commonly known as the Whistleblowing Act is now in force across all sectors.

The Act, which has been designed to promote workplace cultures of accountability and transparency, offers comprehensive protection to workers who blow the whistle.

Employers need to take notice and take steps to become compliant with the legislation.

Key Features of the Act Include:

• Protected Disclosure: disclosure of relevant information, which in the reasonable belief of the worker tends to show relevant wrongdoings and came to the attention of the worker in connection with their employment. The motivation for making the disclosure is irrelevant.
• Worker: the Act protects a wide range of “workers”, including employees, contractors, trainees, agency staff, former employees and job seekers.
• Retrospective in effect: meaning that protected disclosures made earlier this year or last year may be covered by the legislation.
• 5 Years’ Remuneration Award: any worker found to have been dismissed on the grounds of having made a protected disclosure could receive an award of 5 years remuneration. The maximum award under existing unfair dismissals legislation is 2 years remuneration, highlighting the severity the Government are placing on this issue.
• Protections: in addition to protection from any detrimental treatment in the workplace, including dismissal or disciplinary action, whistleblowers will also be exempt from any criminal liability.
• Anonymity: the Act allows for total anonymity of the whistleblower, however this may make appropriate investigations difficult for the employer.
• Methods of Disclosure: the Act sets out a number of avenues open to workers looking to make a disclosure, from raising the issue internally to external options.

Employers need to get “whistleblowing ready” quickly. Existing polices should be reviewed or new policies implemented that are in line with the legislation. Don’t leave gaps for potential exposure.

Bright Contracts will be releasing a comprehensive Whistleblowing Policy shortly.

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