Voice of the Employee

A third of UK workers would be afraid to reveal illegal or dangerous practices by their employer, a survey has claimed. The main reasons given were a fear of losing their job, the impact it would have on their career and how they would be treated by colleagues.

However, the number of people willing to blow the whistle shot up to 67% if they were able to do so anonymously. The survey of 2,000 Brits, conducted by law specialists Slater and Gordon, also revealed some of the things the responders had reported.

These included train drivers smoking cannabis at work, a doctor secretly filming patients and the forging of court documents. Samantha Mangwana, employment lawyer at Slater and Gordon, said: “It is alarming that a third of people are scared to come forward and expose even the most serious wrongdoing at work because they are concerned about the repercussions on themselves.

“The fact that a large percentage of people said they wouldn’t speak out even if they saw the law broken illustrates just how worried people are about what will happen to them if they do. Although it takes a lot of bravery to blow the whistle, it needn’t be as terrifying as some people seem to think as long as they get the right legal advice.”

Of the people asked who had reported wrongful activity, half were made to feel unwelcome afterwards and almost a third said their colleagues stopped talking to them.

A quarter said they would not say anything out of loyalty to their employer and more than a fifth said they did not feel it was their business to speak out.

Ms Mangwana said: “Our research shows that being able to remain anonymous would make a big difference to employees’ thinking when it comes to speaking out while a lot of people said they would blow the whistle if they would be protected.”

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