The proposed amendment to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill would see increased protection offered to employees who blow the whistle on their employer.
The Government suggested the amendment following calls to further strengthen the existing protections that are in place for whistleblowers who may suffer harassment or bullying from colleagues. At present, the law only offers staff members protection from harassment or bullying by their employer, rather than including their colleagues too.
The suggested new levels of protection – known as vicarious liability – will follow in the footsteps of existing provisions within the equality legislation realm which determine that ‘detrimental acts of one co-worker towards another’ are the employer’s responsibility, reported Workplace Law.
Jo Swinson, Employment Relations Minister, said: “The protection offered by whistleblowing legislation is strong but there are always ways to improve it. This amendment takes into account recent events and will place whistleblowers, who are making a difficult decision, in a better position.
“They will now have a specific employment protection in place and be able to have the full force of a tribunal behind them if they suffer any detriment, bullying or harassment from a co-worker. The change will not impact on good employers who see it as their responsibility to make sure their staff have a good working environment,” Ms Swinson went on to say.
However, some campaigners have termed the amendment “insufficient,” and are calling for stronger action to be taken in the shape of the scrapping and total rewriting of the Public Interest Disclosure Act (Pida).