As we all know, the objective of whistleblowing laws is to reduce malpractice in organisations and to ensure that individuals can report malpractice without fear of reprisal. Despite relatively recent reform, the Government remains of the view that whistleblowing laws can do more. Take a look at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills June 2014 paper on the topic to read more on this.
The recent case of Keppel Segher v Hinds has confirmed that the current whistleblowing laws will be applied in an inclusive way.
An agency worker was provided with the protection of the legislation once he had "blown the whistle". Despite working via a limited company in the construction and civil engineering industries, Mr Hinds was said by the Employment Tribunal to have made a protected disclosure and should therefore be afforded protection. Keppel Segher, which was technically the client of Mr Hinds' limited company, appealed with reference to the distancing between the parties due to that contractual relationship. Despite this, the Employment Appeal Tribunal said that a "purposive approach" should be adopted when interpreting the provisions on whistleblowing and that the focus of the legislation was more on what happened in practice rather than any contractual relationship.
Employers should take note of this catch-all approach and consider updating whistleblowing polices accordingly.