MPs are leading calls for a “radical overhaul” of whistleblowing laws in order to protect those who uncover serious wrongdoing such as fraud, unlawful discrimination and abuse by employers.
The calls come from the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for whistleblowing, which is urging the Government to ban the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in whistleblowing cases.
It comes after several instances of allegations being silenced by large corporations and powerful individuals following the use of NDAs.
The cross-party group released a report that recommends the creation of an “Independent Office for the Whistleblower” to protect individuals who uncover information about their employer.
MPs heard evidence from more than 400 whistleblowers, with some facing mounting legal bills, damage to their careers and mental trauma after speaking out.
Under the current rules, whistleblowers have an element of legal protection in some circumstances under the Public Interest Disclosure Act. This means that it is illegal to dismiss an employee in a public or private sector organisation for revealing information that is in the public interest about alleged wrongdoing.
Stephen Kerr MP, Chair of the APPG for Whistleblowing, said: “Almost weekly we hear of cases in both the public and private sectors that have only come to light due to individuals refusing to stay silent, often despite having huge pressure applied to do so.
“In far too many of these cases people have been persecuted, their careers ruined and had to deal with serious consequences for them and their families. This is not acceptable.
“I want to see a gold standard of legislation and support established that will ensure no one can be treated like this.”