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Worker and Organisational Protection: The Future of Whistleblowing in the Gig Economy

Conflict and Shifting Boundaries in the Gig Economy: An Interdisciplinary Analysis

ISBN: 978-1-83867-604-9, eISBN: 978-1-83867-603-2

Publication date: 30 March 2020

Abstract

Employment law recognised the value of whistleblowing with the enactment of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, protecting a ‘worker’ against dismissal and victimisation. Whistleblowers are particularly vulnerable in the gig economy as they may fall outside the statutory definition of ‘worker’ for the purposes of the whistleblowing legislation. This makes a study of whistleblowing in the gig economy pertinent. This chapter explores the statutory definition of ‘worker’ with regard to the current whistleblowing provisions and considers the barriers it presents for gig workers. Judicial interpretation of the definition is examined through an analysis of recent case law that shows much inconsistency and a conflict of judicial approach. The resulting blurred boundaries of the legal term leave a gig worker uncertain as to the level of their protection for blowing the whistle. The need for reform to protect individuals in a wide range of working relationships is clear. It is argued that the new EU Whistleblowing Directive, in protecting ‘work-related activity’, provides better protection for all whistleblowers. The role of human rights in extending the status of work is also advanced. Finally, the implications of developments in this area for key stakeholders in the gig economy are considered highlighting the importance of creative new approaches to give voice to all workers.

Keywords

Citation

Hobby, C. (2020), "Worker and Organisational Protection: The Future of Whistleblowing in the Gig Economy", Page-Tickell, R. and Yerby, E. (Ed.) Conflict and Shifting Boundaries in the Gig Economy: An Interdisciplinary Analysis (The Changing Context of Managing People), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 107-127. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-83867-603-220201009

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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