Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Workplace bullying law meets whistleblower protection law

Workplace bullying law meets whistleblower protection law in Britain – The “mother country” of Canada and the US (for that matter), has enjoyed national whistleblower protection law, the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998: (http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1998/ukpga_19980023_en_1) and workplace bullying law, the Protection from Harassment Act 1997: (http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1997/ukpga_19970040_en_1 ) for over a decade.

Notice the words under the part pertaining to Scotland, “Every individual has a right to be free from harassment.” Take heed that one need not be a member of a “protected class” due to his race, color, ethnicity, sex, national origin, religion/sect, disability, or age (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protected_class). In other words, the Brits to do not confuse harassment and discrimination as the Americans do. What a concept!

Now, take a look at this short article from the UK about a whistleblower who wins the right to sue over alleged workplace bullying: http://www.rjw.co.uk/news-events/directnews/whistleblower-wins-right-to-sue-over-alleged-workplace-bullying_1805
After eating your little North American heart out, pull yourself together and visit this remarkably wonderful site for what California Healthy Workplace Advocates call “small-time whistleblowers” and just try to figure out what the heck is the connection between blowing the whistle and making false claims might be. No, it has nothing to do with “crying wolf.” It has to do with the False Claims Act against a government, called “qui tam statutes, that allow whistleblowers to actually step into the shoes of the government and seek damages on behalf of the government.” http://whistleblowerlaws.com/index.php

In other words, in the US, a small-time whistleblower can make like the government itself and vicariously sue an entity for making false charges for government moneys. But it better be about multi-millions of government dollars or you will NEVER find attorney representation.

Healthy Workplace Advocates tell this to legislators and even governors. We call our whistleblower protections “infantile” because they provide so little protection for the typical whistleblower. Those whistleblowers we read of or hear about in the media are big-timers – the very reason the media picked up their stories in the first place. The rest of us just pucker up and blow away.

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