A Comparative Analysis of Whistleblower Protection in the UK, USA and EU in the COVID-19 Era

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                                 CHAPTERS’ OUTLINE


It is pertinent that whistleblowers in this era of coronavirus pandemic are accorded further protection from reprisals for exposing wrongdoing and offenders to be prosecuted. Unequivocally, whistleblowers should be motivated and rewarded rather than persecuted. Accordingly, as evidence has shown from recurring incidents that legislative reforms are necessary since current ones are flawed and tenuous, governments and international organizations have a mandate to act responsibly.

CHAPTER 1: Whistleblower legislations

This chapter will thoroughly examine legal frameworks such as the UK Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA), Dodd-Frank in the US, and the EU Whistleblower Directive that were established for the purpose of protecting whistleblowers. The chapter will focus on how coronavirus has shed light on the failures of the existing legislation.

The chapter will justify why the whistleblowing legislation in the UK (PIDA) and the fragmented EU Member States laws need urgent reform as a result of the exposure by COVID-19 pandemic. This chapter will also evaluate the pragmatic measures adopted by the US in enacting Acts such as Coronavirus Oversight & Recovery Ethics (CORE) and Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security (CARE) to strengthen the whistleblowing legislation.

  1. Definitions of whistleblowing
    1. Introduction to the Study
  2. Definition and aims of whistleblower legislations
  3. Background
  4. Problem Statement
  5. Research objectives
  6. Methodology
    1. Media representation of whistleblowers
    1. Risks of whistleblowing
    1. Defining the worker and the employer
    1. An employer’s responsibilities in regards to whistleblowing
    1. Introduction to the UK Whistleblower Legislations
      1. History of whistleblower legislation in the UK
      1. The Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA)
      1. How to communicate policy and procedure
      1. To whom a protected disclosure may be made
      1. Difference between personal grievance and disclosure
      1. Is there a standard whistleblowing policy?
      1. The issue of confidentiality in whistleblowing
      1. Remedies provided by the PIDA (e.g. the Employment Rights Act 1996)
      1. Sample PIDA case studies from Public Concern at Work (PCAW), a leading independent authority on whistleblowing in the UK
      1. Survey sampling and results of public perception on the PIDA
      1. Selected PIDA Cases
      1. Whistleblowing best practice guide
      1. Future of whistleblowing in the UK
      1.  Suggested Whistleblowing Code of Practice

The EU Whistleblower Protection

1.2.0 Comprehensive definitions and protections

1.2.1 An analysis of the 3-tiered EU whistleblowing model

1.2.2 Whistleblowing measures in selected European countries

1.2.3 Whistleblower protection at the EU Commission and European Institutions

1.2.4 Is the 3-tiered model a European creation?

1.2.5 The Directive in context of existing EU law

1.2.6 Expected challenges, and the role of trade unions

1.2.7 Robust whistleblower protection, a crucial challenge to the European democracy

1.2.8 Conclusion

United States

1.3.0 The position of whistleblowers in the United States measured

1.3.1 Purpose and achievements of Dodd-Frank (Case studies)

1.3.2 A comparison of the UK and US responses to internal and external whistleblowing

(a) Common law protection for the American private employee

(b) Common law protection for the American public employee

(c) Statutory protections for the American employees

i) Protections for public and private employees

ii) Special protection for the public employee        

The UK Model

  • Common law protection and early statutory laws
  • The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998

1.3.3 Is there “one right path” to internal and external reporting

1.3.4 Fusing the American and British models of Whistleblower Protection

1.4 Whistleblower Protection: A global approach

1.5 Recent trends in best practices in whistleblower protection

1.6 Conclusion


This chapter will examine the emergence of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and then compare its impact on the three different jurisdictions (the US, the UK and EU Member States). In an effort to critically analyse the social-economic impact of the coronavirus on the three jurisdictions, the analytical framework tool of PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental) is adopted to allow proactive discussion which will highlight the impact of pandemics on healthcare sectors and global economies—specifically the three political systems analysed. 

CHAPTER 3:  Retaliation/punishment to offenders

Emphasis on this chapter centres on measures undertaken by the UK, the US and the EU Member States to protect whistleblowers prior to the emergence of COVID-19. This chapter will compare the UK’s COVID-19 whistleblowing protection with the US and the EU Member States. The chapter will also analyse the prevailing impact of the pandemic by detailing reported cases of retaliation against whistleblowers in the COVID-19 era.

CHAPTER 4: Motivation for whistleblowing  

This chapter will be devoted to establishing the motivational drive for whistleblowers (financial rewards or ethical reasons) in the three comparative jurisdictions of this study. More emphasis is placed on trying to understand the US financial approach in promoting whistleblowing and why other countries are reluctant to adopt the US approach. The chapter will also examine how the handling of the COVID-19 whistleblowing cases might motivate or discourage future reporting of wrongdoings.

CHAPTER 5: Reward for whistleblowing  

This chapter will place much prominence on ethical and financial approach in rewarding whistleblowers. The chapter will investigate different outcomes in the level of financial rewards and the moral obligation to “do what is right.” The research compares the substantial financial awards in the US to whistleblowers for exposing COVID-19 wrongdoing relative to a whistleblower in the UK that also reported Covid-related wrongdoing driven by moral or ethical considerations.

CHAPTER 6:   Contribution and recommendations

This chapter will summarise the gaps identified then will draw a conclusion that upon completion of the study all the stakeholders, such as employers, employees, policymakers and scholars, will be better informed on COVID-19 whistleblowing related cases. The research will contribute to the gap in knowledge since the COVID-19 pandemic and the EU Whistleblowing Directive are still subject to limited research due to their infancy. The research will also indicate how financial rewards and ethical values are reliable forms of motivation for whistleblowers.


Conclusively, whistleblowing legislation is not adequately protecting whistleblowers who make a protected disclosure.  More so, there is confusion regarding some of the provisions and inconsistent application of the legislation in the UK and some EU Member States. Meanwhile, the American model of whistleblowing policy is clearer, comprehensive and efficiently enforceable. The whistleblowing policy needs a radical overhaul to ensure that workers are aware and they can make disclosures with better understanding of their obligations in the UK and EU Member States.