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Proposals on Protected Disclosure - Whistleblowing

PRACTICE AREA GROUP: Corporate, Employment, Pensions and Benefits
DATE: 04.04.2012

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has published a draft General Scheme of a proposed Protected Disclosure in the Public Interest Bill. 

The Minister indicated that the proposed legislation would ..."protect Whistleblowers who speak out against wrongdoing, or cover-ups, whether in public or the private sector.  This could encompass, for example, criminal misconduct, corruption, the breach of a legal obligation, risk to health and safety, damage to the environment or gross mismanagement in the public service. "

The purpose of the legislation would be to ensure the protection of workers in all sectors of the economy against reprisals in circumstances where they make a disclosure of information relating to wrong-doing which comes to their attention in the workplace.  The proposed legislation would provide for a stepped disclosure regime in which a number of distinct disclosure channels would be available – internal, regulatory and external.  The provisions are largely modelled on the UK Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 with elements of the New Zealand Protected Disclosure Act 2000.

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