Dismissing employees

Whistleblowing - exceptionally serious failures


If the relevant failure is exceptionally serious, any qualifying disclosure made externally will be protected if the worker:

  • does not act for personal gain
  • reasonably believes the information disclosed, and any allegation contained in it, are substantially true

Also, it must be reasonable for the worker to make the disclosure in view of all the circumstances - with particular regard to the identity of the person to whom the disclosure is made.

Only an industrial tribunal/arbitrator can decide whether or not the relevant failure is exceptionally serious. This will be a matter of fact and not simply a matter of the worker reasonably believing it to be exceptionally serious.

Raising a grievance and making protected disclosures

Employees do not necessarily have to raise a grievance in order to make a protected disclosure.

For more information about grievance procedures, see our guide on handling grievances.

There may be good reasons why a worker wishes their identity to remain confidential. The law does not compel an organisation to protect the confidentiality of a whistleblower. However, it is considered best practice to maintain that confidentiality, unless required by law to disclose it.