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Whistle-blowing protection provisions for construction industry employees

Agapiou, A. (2005) Whistle-blowing protection provisions for construction industry employees. Construction Information Quarterly, 7 (4). pp. 135-141. ISSN 1469-4891

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Abstract

The construction industry requires the coordinated effort of many professionals: architects, engineers, surveyors and contractors. Engineers and architects have for decades been regulated by complex codes of ethics. Construction Industry employees are often required to report improper, unsafe or illegal construction activities. In most cases, practitioners have a legal or ethical duty to blow the whistle on a colleague, employer or client. This paper focuses on several key aspects of whistle-blowing as they relate to construction sector employees. The aims of this paper are two-fold: firstly, to highlight the need to have legislation in place that protects, and therefore encourages, the whistle-blowing phenomenon in the construction industry as a basis for good ethical practice; and secondly, to review the provisions for protecting whistleblowers as they relate to the construction industry employees nationally and internationally. The purpose is not to present any specific national legislation as a model of best practice but rather to compare and contrast coverage of legal protection, and to bring to the fore precedent pertinent to the construction industry context. The variations in whistleblowing protection laws create an environment where it is difficult to make a general statement regarding legal protection available to practitioners who report impropriety. It may be necessary for a potential whistleblower to balance the ethical call to duty with the specific legal protection afforded to them as employees within a particular country.