Ireland - Whistleblowing Update

The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 (the “Act”) provides protection for workers (which includes employees, contractors and agency workers) who report a “relevant wrongdoing” in the workplace.

The definition of a “relevant wrongdoing” includes the following: criminal offences; failure to comply with legal obligations (this does not include disclosures of breaches relating to the worker’s own terms of employment); health and safety matters; unlawful or improper use of public money; and if information in relation to any of the above is concealed or destroyed. It is immaterial whether the relevant wrongdoing occurred in Ireland or another jurisdiction and whether the relevant law that has been breached is an Irish law or that of another jurisdiction.

The Act is intended to encourage employees to report disclosures internally initially, in that the employee is only required to have a “reasonable belief” that they are disclosing a relevant wrongdoing. Should the employee decide to report the wrongdoing externally, for example to a regulator, the burden of proof is higher, and the employee must be able to show that he/she believes the disclosure to be “substantially true”. The employee must also be able to demonstrate that they had good reason for not disclosing the information internally first.

Click to view advisory