What constitutes ‘wrongdoing’
The Protected Disclosures (Amendment) Act 2022 which comes into effect on 1st Jan 2023 for some employers and on the 17th Dec 2023 for more employers (see who is in scope) now includes the following grievances as acts of alleged ‘wrongdoing’ that can be addressed as a protected disclosure:
- Criminal offences
- Failure to comply with a legal obligation (other than a worker’s contract of employment)
- Miscarriage of justice
- Endangerment of health and safety
- Damage to the environment
- Unlawful or improper use of public funds
- Oppressive, discriminatory or negligent behaviour by a public body
- Breaches of EU law
- Concealing or destroying evidence of wrongdoing
What about personal or interpersonal grievances?
The Protected Disclosures (Amendment) Act 2022 does not consider interpersonal grievances that exist exclusively between the worker and an employer or co-worker as a relative act of wrongdoing under the Act.
According to the guidelines published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, if a worker is exclusively aggrieved by an incident of harassment, for example, relating to the employer or a co-worker, or is exclusively aggrieved by an interpersonal conflict between the worker and their employer or a co-worker, then such grievances should be addressed under the organization’s internal grievance policy and/or the dignity at work policy or equivalent policies or procedures.
However if such an interpersonal grievance affects other workers then the Act allows a protected disclosure that may arise from it to be considered as wrongdoing.