Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Whistle blowing

In a case that may have considerable implications, the employment appeal tribunal (EAT) has ruled that 'protected disclosure' (under the Public Information Disclosure Act 1998), or whistle blowing, applies beyond wrong-doing in the place of employment or by the employer or the employer's staff. The EAT concluded that there was nothing in the wording of the legislation that restricted whistle blowing to the goings-on of the employer.

The judge instanced a situation where it was in the interest of an employer that a valued client's illegal activity should not be revealed. The employee was right to blow the whistle even though the issue referred to the "conduct of a person other than (her) employer".

This may have significant implications where a teacher becomes aware of something which governors or the head/principal are reluctant to pass on in case doing so upsets relationships with a 'community': for example, where s/he suspects a forced marriage.

A teacher who ignores such restrictions imposed by the employer will have the protection of the law.

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