Targeted Individuals

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Dragoncourt

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Prior to the 1998 Act, whistleblowers in the United Kingdom had no protection against being dismissed by their employer. Although they could avoid being sued for breach of confidence thanks to a public interest defence, this did not prevent subtle or open victimisation in the workplace, including disciplinary action, dismissal,[1] failure to gain promotion or a pay rise.[2] During the early to mid-1990s, interest in whistleblower protection grew, partially because of a series of financial scandals and health and safety accidents, which investigations into showed could have been prevented if employees had been permitted to voice their concerns,[3] and partially because of the work of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.[4] In 1995 and 1996, two private member's bills dealing with whistleblowers were introduced to Parliament, by Tony Wright and Don Touhig respectively, but both efforts fell through. When Richard Shepherd proposed a similar bill, however, he got government support for it on the condition that it be an amendment to the Employment Rights Act 1996 rather than a new area of law in its own right.[5] Public Concern at Work, a UK-based whistleblowers charity, was involved in the drafting and consultation stages of the bill.[6]

The Public Interest Disclosure Bill was introduced to the House of Commons by Shepherd in 1997, and given its second reading on 12 December before being sent to a committee.[7] After being passed by the Commons it moved to the House of Lords on 27 April 1998,[8] and was passed on 29 June,[9] receiving the Royal Assent on 2 July and becoming the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.[10] Originally scheduled to come into force on 1 January 1999,[4] the Act instead became applicable law on 2 July.

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Edward Snowden Interview Transcript