The Role of London’s Employment Tribunals in Resolving Whistleblowing Disputes

Whistleblowing occurs when an employee, also known as a whistleblower, reports certain types of wrongdoing. This could be a criminal offence, failure to comply with legal obligations, a miscarriage of justice, health and safety violations or damage to the environment. 

In the UK, whistleblowers are protected under specific whistleblowing legislation, designed to encourage individuals to speak out without fear of retaliation. The Employment Rights Act 1996 and the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 are designed to protect employees, and can provide peace of mind that if they are subject to any unlawful detriment, they can make a claim to the Employment Tribunal and be awarded compensation. 

In the bustling corporate landscape of London, whistleblowing remains essential for preventing wrongdoing and holding organisations accountable for their actions. Many whistleblowing disputes will require the intervention of Employment Tribunals and they play an essential role in ensuring justice is served for employees. In this post, we have explored the role of London’s Employment Tribunals in whistleblowing cases in more detail. 

Role of Employment Tribunals

Employment Tribunals are judicial bodies that resolve disputes between employers and employees. Formerly known as Industrial Tribunals, Employment Tribunals have been part of the wiser judicial system since 1964. One of their key responsibilities includes handling whistleblowing claims, as well as discrimination claims, harassment claims and unfair dismissal claims. These tribunals ensure whistleblowers are protected as per the law and any claims of unfair treatment or dismissal related to whistleblowing are addressed fairly and justly.

Whistleblowing disputes can be very complicated, as they involve sensitive information and require an in-depth understanding of the legal protections for whistleblowers. London’s Employment Tribunals are equipped with the expertise to navigate the intricacies of these cases, making them crucial to ensuring whistleblowers can report wrongdoing in confidence knowing if they experience any detriment for making a protected disclosure, they can take a whistleblowing claim to the Employment Tribunal.

Process of Taking a Whistleblowing Case to a Tribunal

Taking a whistleblowing case to an Employment Tribunal is a process that involves several important steps. Understanding each phase can help you prepare for what to expect and how to manage your whistleblowing case effectively.

  • Early Research

Before proceeding with a whistleblowing case, it is advisable to do some research. This starts with reading your employer’s whistleblowing policy to understand the internal procedures. You can also use the ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) website to get some general information about blowing the whistle and making claims to the Employment Tribunal. ACAS provides detailed information about legal protections for employees and employers, and the proper procedures to follow when making a claim.

Importantly, all whistleblowers should familiarise themselves with the ACAS Code of Practice on Discipline and Grievance Procedures. Failing to follow this code can have significant consequences. For instance, when taking a whistleblowing claim to an Employment Tribunal, your actions can impact the compensation awarded and it may be reduced by up to 25%.  

  • Submitting a Claim

If you have tried to resolve the issue internally and have been unsuccessful, the next step is submitting a claim to the Employment Tribunal. This is typically done by completing an ET1 form, which is available on the government website, or you may be able to make a claim online. To make a claim, you need to know some basic information, such as your name and address as well as your employer’s name and address.

  • Preliminary Hearing

In some cases, a preliminary hearing may be necessary. This is typically scheduled to address certain legal or procedural issues before the main hearing can take place. Examples include determining the time frame of events, the exact legal complaints and whether certain claims can proceed. This step is vital for ensuring the main hearing can go ahead without any problems. 

  • Main Hearing

The main hearing is the critical stage where the bulk of the case is heard and decided upon. During this hearing, both parties will present their evidence and arguments to the Employment Tribunal. Witnesses may be called and documents are presented to support each side’s case. It is important to be prepared for a detailed examination of your claim and any defence put forward by your employer. This is a formal process and understanding courtroom etiquette and procedure, ideally with the help of legal representation, is essential.

  • Judge’s Decision

After the main hearing, the Employment Tribunal judge will deliberate and make a decision. If the claim is successful, they can award you with compensation for loss of earnings or injury to feelings, for example. Sometimes, they can also reinstate whistleblowers to former positions, if appropriate and desired. The final decision aims to rectify any wrongs suffered while also taking into account the interests of fairness.

Importance of Legal Representation

Taking a whistleblowing claim to the Employment Tribunal can be overwhelming and it requires careful preparation and adherence to procedural rules. It is highly recommended that employees seek legal advice and representation before making a claim to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome. 

Legal professionals who specialise in employment law and whistleblowing claims can offer invaluable assistance throughout the whole process. They can help you prepare your case, gather necessary evidence and provide expert representation during the Employment Tribunal hearings. When you have legal representation, you can trust your rights will be protected at all times and your best interests will be taken into account. 

Resolving Whistleblowing Disputes 

London’s Employment Tribunals play a pivotal role in resolving whistleblowing disputes, ensuring employees can raise concerns about wrongdoing without fear of retaliation. The process of bringing a claim to the Employment Tribunal is complicated, but with the right support, you can ensure you get the justice you deserve. 

For anyone considering blowing the whistle, it is advisable to seek legal representation to navigate the Employment Tribunal process effectively and safeguard your rights under whistleblowing legislation. Damian McCarthy is here to help whistleblowers in London. With more than two decades of experience, Damian knows how to get results and can help you develop a winning strategy. Damian will be totally committed to your case and represent you fearlessly, ensuring you feel supported throughout the process. For a free, confidential and no-obligation discussion about your whistleblowing claim, contact Damian today.