Last reviewed 16 November 2020
A charity has warned that some 4 in 10 employees who raise Covid-19 concerns are being ignored by their employers, while 1 in 5 were reportedly dismissed for raising concerns.
The claims are made in a new report on whistleblowing in the context of Covid-19 from the UK charity Protect.
The charity runs an advice line for whistleblowers and supports more than 3000 cases each year.
Protect says it has been inundated with Covid-19 whistleblowing concerns and that many are of an extremely serious nature, such as relating to employers fraudulently claiming public money.
The charity’s new report examines more than 600 Covid-19 calls to the charity’s advice line between March and September 2020. The majority of cases were over furlough fraud and risk to public safety, such as a lack of social distancing and personal protective equipment (PPE) in the workplace.
Some of the key findings of the report were:
41% of whistleblowers had Covid-19 concerns ignored by employers
20% of whistleblowers were dismissed for raising Covid-19 concerns
managers were more likely to be dismissed for raising Covid-19 concerns, with 32% of managers compared with 21% of non-managers losing their jobs
furlough fraud came mostly from very small organisations — 76% of callers described the company size as between 1 and 49 employees.
Commenting on the report, Liz Gardiner, Chief Executive of Protect said, “There is no excuse for employers to ignore whistleblowers, but during a global pandemic, it is a danger for us all when concerns are not acted on and the consequences could be a matter of life and death.”