'Whistle-blowers' at work get help

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The Independent Online
MORE than 50 people with 'serious concerns' about malpractice where they work have contacted a new group set up to help 'whistle-blowers'.

Public Concern At Work, a charity launched in London last October, has also had calls from a further 120 people asking for information about legal advice.

The charity group's first progress report includes details of some of the concerns they have been told about, which include:

A primary school teacher worried that some of her pupils were being sexually and physically abused;

A finance manager who suspected that the computer company where he worked was defrauding customers;

A bus driver who believed vehicles at his company were in a dangerous condition;

A brewery worker who complained he was being made redundant after reporting a colleague for drink-driving.

The charity has taken up the claims either directly with companies or with outside bodies, mostly to the satisfaction of those who complained.

Its report said: 'In the month following our launch over 200 people have contacted the organisation for help and information. This figure suggests that significant numbers are concerned about some malpractice in their workplace.'

One-third of the concerns the group has dealt with were about alleged corruption and malpractice. Guy Dehn, the charity's director, said: 'Those who had blown the whistle before they had contacted the charity often found their concerns had been swept under the carpet or they themselves had become the subject of the investigation.' A total of 25 people said they had been victimised for speaking out.