Letter: Whistle-blowing in the workplace

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The Independent Online
Sir: Paul Vallely ("Are you brave enough to blow the whistle?", 2 August) glides over one of the main problems facing senior staff who fall foul of improper employer behaviour - whether it is dishonesty, breach of contract, harassment, health and safety breaches or whatever. He states, of someone who was sacked after blowing the whistle that "although he subsequently won his claim for unfair dismissal, his compensation was statutorily limited to less than half his annual salary."

In 1974, when the Labour government and the Trades Union Congress agreed on the compensation for unfair dismissal, they limited the maximum compensation (which is rarely paid) to less than two-thirds of the average annual salary. It has suited successive governments to protect employers who behave improperly and unfairly, by keeping compensation so low that anyone in even a moderately senior position has virtually no protection under the employment protection legislation. It will be a test of the seriousness of the opposition parties in their "fight" against corruption in business, to see whether they continue to condone this non-protection of just those who would be most effective as whistle-blowers.

Dr HUGH MASON

Assistant National Secretary

Association of University and College Lecturers

Southsea, Hampshire

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