An employee, worker or trainee is protected when they make a disclosure in the public interest that concerns:
a criminal offence
a breach of legal obligation
a miscarriage of justice
a danger to the health and safety of any individual
damage to the environment
a deliberate attempt to cover up any of the above
The report may relate to past wrongdoing, something currently happening, or something they believe will happen soon. An opinion or allegation is not whistleblowing. The employee must have disclosed specific information – for example something they witnessed.
When deciding whether the disclosure is in the public interest, the tribunal (if the case goes that far) will consider:
whether the misconduct affects people other than the employee making the disclosure
the impact of the wrongdoing
the influence and seniority of the person or organisation responsible
Some industries, such as the finance and medical industries, are more highly regulated and may have specific regulations and procedures that deal with whistleblowing. An experienced employment law solicitor can help you to understand how the law applies to your organisation.