The Isle of Man Department of Enterprises announced on July 1 that it was seeking comments on three legislative proposals, one of which relates to whistleblower laws for the island.
The consultation on whistleblowing legislation opened on June 30 and closes on August 26. Individuals are encouraged to submit their views on several proposed changes to the current whistleblower law. The consultation also “seeks views on broader and deeper changes to the statutory framework for whistleblowing in the Isle of Man, to ensure that we do our best to protect those who seek to address wrongdoing on the workplace”, the consultation document from the States Department of Enterprise.
After the consultation period, the Ministry will “review and assess the comments received from those consulted”, “publish a review of the comments received” and “define the next steps for any legislative changes”. The consultation document notes that if a person consulted wishes any part or all of their response to be kept confidential, they should “clearly indicate so” in their response.
This consultation follows a December 2020 report from the Tynwald Select Committee on Whistleblowing. The report examines “Isle of Man Government policy” as well as “the current legislative framework relating to protected disclosures in the Isle of Man”. The Committee “found none to be fit for purpose”.
Subsequently, Tynwald, the Isle of Man parliament, engaged in debate and subsequently accepted five recommendations aimed at improving the Isle of Man government’s whistleblower policy and addressing the problems with current legislation on the whistleblower whistleblower from the Isle of Man. Recommendation 5 is that “the Cabinet Office and the Enterprise Department should consult jointly in 2021/22 on a comprehensive legislative framework for whistleblowing to cover: a) the encouragement to raise public interest concerns, b) the provision of follow-up and support, c) the protection of whistleblowers and penalties for non-compliance, and d) the possible establishment of an Isle of Man Concerns at Work service to provide oversight of any the island.
Current whistleblower protection provisions for people living in the Isle of Man are set out in Part IV of the Jobs Act 2006. According to the consultation paper, this provision is similar to the UK provision in the Employment Rights Act 1996. the whistleblower provisions have not been updated like the UK provisions: the whistleblower provisions for the Isle of Man therefore lack some updates, such as having an “interest test requirement audience “.
Whistleblower provisions in a bill would address some of the problems of the Jobs Act 2006, such as “Amending the definition of a ‘permissible disclosure’ to clarify that only disclosures made in the public interest will be eligible for whistleblower protection”. The proposed bill would also have “[r]remove the requirement that disclosures be made in ‘good faith'” and “amend the provision to include vicarious liability – in other words to provide that an employer may be held liable if another employee or “an agent” of the employer subjects the whistleblower employee to detriment.”
The Department of Enterprise is also seeking consultations on additional proposals outside of the Committee’s report, such as “the introduction of a provision to clearly indicate when a tip-off has been made” and “the maximum amount of compensation for wrongful dismissal”.
In relation to recommendation 5 of the Tynwald select committee report, the consultation document lists the recent history of progress made to improve whistleblower legislation in the UK, EU and Ireland. The document lists 18 questions to prompt individuals to comment on specific aspects of the legislative proposals.
According to the webpage, “[a] A number of high-profile cases over the years have highlighted the issue of whistleblowing and whether the Island’s legislative framework for protected disclosures could be strengthened. Individuals can submit their responses online through the online survey available on the webpage.
The other two consultations seek comments on proposals regarding family leave rights and the regulation of zero-hour contracts.
In the press release, Tim Crookall MHK, the Minister for the Department of Business, said: “We welcome the feedback from this consultation exercise and are open to hearing the views of the island’s business community. Man and the general public on these important issues.” He said: “The Department has made a clear commitment in the Island’s plan to reform employment law and by holding these consultations on these important proposals we hope we can make significant improvements to our employment law. employment before the scheduled date.
June 28, Whistleblower Network News reported on the Northern Ireland Department of Health requesting consultation on a model framework for whistleblowing.
Read more about the Isle of Man consultation on whistleblowing legislation here.
Read more about whistleblowers around the world at WNN.