Why do some workers have more rights than others?

The Law

Section 43K of PIDA grants protection to employees, as well as certain workers, contractors, trainees and agency staff who raise concerns about wrongdoing, risk or malpractice which it is in the public interest to disclose. But there are gaps in the law meaning that some workers do not qualify for whistleblower protection.


Who is not protected? 

× Job Applications

 × Volunteers

 × Interns

 × Non-Executive Directors

 × Public Appointments

 × Priests and ministers of religion

 × Foster carers

 × Members of the armed forces and security services

 × Self-employed workers

Protect Recommends

  • The Secretary of State should expand PIDA to include the above listed categories of workers
  • PIDA must be brought in line with the Equality Act 2010 to protect workers mistreated by their employer because they are thought to be a whistleblower.

“When PIDA was first introduced, parliament intended to provide as many workers as possible with whistleblower protection, but successive governments have failed to address the widening gap. Piecemeal reform only adds to the perception that whistleblowers are not protected.”

Cathy James OBE, Former Chief Executive of PCaW (now known as Protect)

Landmark cases

The Whistleblowing Commission recommends there should be a broader, more flexible definition of a worker within PIDA to deal with the many different types of worker and working arrangements in the modern workplace.

2013

The Whistleblowing Commission recommends there should be a broader, more flexible definition of a worker within PIDA to deal with the many different types of worker and working arrangements in the modern workplace

2014

Clyde & Co LLP v Bates van Winkelhof [2014] UKSC 32 (PCaW intervening) The Supreme Court rules that limited liability partners should be protected by PIDA.

2015

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill receives Royal Assent and enacts recommendations made by Sir Robert Francis in the Freedom to Speak Up review, extending whistleblower protection to include student nurses and midwives and job applicants in the NHS.

2016

Dr Day v Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust and Health Education England UKEAT/0250/15/RN(2016) The employment appeal tribunal finds that a junior doctor who suffered detriment at the hands of his training provider rather than his employer, was not protected by PIDA.

2017

Dr Day v Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust and Health Education England [2017] EWCA Civ 329 Dr Day won his case at Court of Appeal with the court agreeing that a junior doctor could pursue a training provider rather than his employer for a detriment under PIDA.  Dr Days case was sent back to Employment Tribunal for this issue to be fully decided and in response Health Education England conceded that they were in fact Dr Day’s employer.