27 August 2015

Moran & Ryan – The Market Leader in Advising on Whistleblowing

Moran and Ryan are the first firm to successfully complete a claim under the new Protected Disclosures Act 2014.

The Act provides protection for workers who disclose wrongdoing in the workplace in certain circumstances.

To fall within the provisions of the Act, an individual must be defined as a worker. This definition includes employees, agency workers, contractors and trainees.

It is important to note that the Act provides a qualified rather than an absolute right to confidentiality.

It is also important to note that the contents of a disclosure must be capable of being defined as Relevant Information.

The subject matter of the disclosure must come to the attention of the worker in connection with their employment and the worker must reasonable believe that it tends to show Relevant Wrongdoing.

We can advise on whether it is likely that the relevant scenario could be interpreted as being Relevant Wrongdoing.

If this is the case, it is good practice for a worker to first report the matter to the employer or to a party nominated by the employer.

If a worker decides to report to different party, e.g. the media this will only be a protected disclosure if the worker reasonably believes the following:

  • The relevant information and allegations are substantially true;
  • The disclosure is not for personal gain;
  • The worker would be penalized by their employer if they make the disclosure or if there is a reasonable belief that the evidence would be concealed/destroyed or the worker previously make a disclosure of substantially same information to their employer or the relevant wrongdoing is exceptionally serious; and
  • The disclosure is reasonable in all the circumstances.

If applicable, the Act provides whistleblowers with a number of protections, including protection from dismissal, compensation for any unfair dismissal and immunity from proceedings for damages.