Whistleblowing

The Whistleblower Protection Law encourages, helps and protects employees who choose to report improper conduct by their employer.

What we can help with

We can investigate your disclosure and decide whether it's protected by The Whistleblower Protection Law. If your disclosure is protected, and you have been subject to detrimental action, we can make recommendations to compensate you for any loss you may have suffered.

Did you know?

If you want to receive whistleblower protection you must make your disclosure to our office or to an attorney-at-law.

Before you come to us

Please make sure you have:

  • a summary of the nature of the improper conduct
  • the name of the person you believe is committing the improper conduct
  • the time and place where the alleged improper conduct took place
  • the full name, address and description of a person (if any) who witnessed the commission of the improper conduct

What to expect

Your identity, and any information you give to us, will be kept secret and confidential. We will:

  • act fairly, independently and impartially
  • conduct a thorough investigation
  • give the organisation a chance to respond to your disclosure
  • review the information both sides provide to us
  • provide you with a report about the results of our investigation.

Did you know?

Your disclosure must be made in the public interest and not strictly for your own personal benefit.

I’m ready to report wrongdoing

Email, call +1 345 946 6283 or make an appointment to meet with one of our investigators.

Frequently asked questions

If you have a question, the answer may already be here for you.

What's the purpose of the Whistleblower Protection Law, 2015?

This law was enacted to encourage, help and protect employees who choose to report improper conduct by their employer.

Who does this law apply to?

The Whistleblower Protection Law applies to all employers and employees in the Cayman Islands. This includes public and private employers and employees.

What's the responsibility of a whistleblower under this Law?

A whistleblower must act in good faith and in the public interest. You must honestly believe that a person is engaging in improper conduct.

Who can make a disclosure?

The following people are considered to be 'employees' and entitled to make a disclosure:

  • an employee in the public or private sector
  • any person who assisted an employer for free
  • any person who had a contract with or was an agent of an employer

Will my identity be protected?

Yes, your identity and the information you give to us is secret and confidential. The Freedom of Information Law does not apply to disclosures.

Do I have other protections as a whistleblower?

An employee shall not be liable in any civil or criminal proceedings or to any disciplinary proceeding because he or she has made a disclosure in accordance with the Whistleblower Protection Law.

Why does my disclosure have to be made 'in the public interest' before it will receive protection under the Law?

The requirement for a disclosure to be made in the public interest is to prevent employees from making disclosures purely in their own self-interest or using the law to bring employment disputes to the Ombudsman.

What is improper conduct?

Improper conduct is defined as:

  • a criminal offence
  • a failure to carry out a legal obligation
  • conduct that has, or is likely to:
    • result in a miscarriage of justice
    • be a detrimental action
    • result in a violation of human rights
    • result in a threat to health and safety
    • result in a threat or damage to the environment
  • conduct that shows gross mismanagement, impropriety or misconduct involving public funds
  • willful concealment of any act described above

What is the Ombudsman’s role?

We receive, investigate, recommend and report on disclosures of improper conduct and detrimental actions. We also plan, implement and monitor public awareness programmes aimed to educate and inform employees, employers and the general public.

How do I make a disclosure of improper conduct?

Contact our office or get legal advice from an attorney-at-law.

Why is it important to make a disclosure to the Ombudsman or an attorney-at-law?

You will be protected from any detrimental action taken against you for making a disclosure.

Can the Ombudsman refuse to deal with a disclosure of improper conduct?

Yes, the Ombudsman can refuse to deal with a disclosure or refuse to commence an investigation into improper conduct or cease an investigation in the following circumstances:

  • the disclosure is not protected
  • the subject matter of the disclosure or investigation has been adequately dealt with
  • the disclosure is frivolous or not sufficiently important to warrant an investigation
  • the circumstances have changed so the investigation is unnecessary

If the Ombudsman refuses to investigate, we will notify you in writing and provide reasons for the refusal within 15 days.

What is detrimental action?

If you have made a disclosure and your employer acts in reprisal, this is a detrimental action and includes:

  • action causing injury, loss or damage
  • intimidation or harassment
  • unlawful discrimination, disadvantage or adverse treatment
  • preventing, restraining or restricting an employee from making a protected disclosure
  • inducing any person by threats, promises or otherwise to contravene The Whistleblower Protection Law, 2015

What happens if my employer takes detrimental action against me?

If a person takes detrimental action against you, they are liable to receive a fine or be imprisoned. If the courts convicts the person, the court may order (if the employer and employee agree) the employer to reinstate you. You can, in addition to any other rights or remedies available to you under the Law, sue the person who took detrimental action against you for any injury, loss or damage you suffered. You may ask the court to remedy the detrimental action or ask the court to grant an injunction with any terms the court considers appropriate.

You may file a complaint with the Director of Labour under the Labour Law (2011 Revision) on the ground that you have been subjected to a detrimental action. The Director will refer your complaint to a labour tribunal. Before you make a complaint, you must ask the Ombudsman to decide whether your disclosure is a protected disclosure under the Law.

If you are a civil servant, the Ombudsman may request the Deputy Governor transfer your employment within the civil service, with your consent.

If you have suffered detriment as a result of your protected disclosure, we can make recommendations to your employer to:

  • permit you to return to your duties
  • reinstate you, or pay compensation instead of reinstatement if the relationship of trust cannot be restored
  • pay you in an amount equivalent to the damage you have suffered
  • rescind any disciplinary action and pay compensation equivalent to any financial or other penalty imposed
  • pay your expenses directly related to the reprisal
  • compensate you for up to $10,000 for pain and suffering as a result of the reprisal

What if my employer dismisses me because I intended to make, was the in process of making or actually made a protected disclosure?

You will be treated by the court or the labour tribunal as having been unfairly dismissed if you choose to take civil action or make a complaint to the Director of Labour.

I am an employer, what are my responsibilities under the Law?

There are no specific responsibilities of an employer under this Law; however, employers should promote ethical practices as well as a positive environment for disclosing improper conduct.

Do employers have rights under the Law?

Employers have the right to be heard, the right to provide an explanation and to receive a report of our investigation and recommendations.

Employers will receive notice of a disclosure and details of the alleged improper conduct. You may be interviewed as part of our investigation and you will be invited to make written submissions on the allegations against you. Once all submissions have been received, the Ombudsman will provide you with a draft report for your comment and review. Once all comments have been received and reviewed, a final report will be issued by the Ombudsman. You will receive a copy of this report.

Can an employer prevent me from making a disclosure?

No, employment agreements are void if they prevent you from making a protected disclosure.

Employment agreements may not require you to:

  • agree not to make a disclosure during or after your employment
  • refrain from instituting any proceedings pursuant to this Law
  • withdraw or abandon any disclosure made under this Law

Who does the Ombudsman report to?

Under the Whistleblower Protection Law, the Governor has responsibility for:

  • overseeing and inspecting the work of the Ombudsman under the Whistleblower Protection Law
  • reviewing our annual report

The Governor may also give directions as to the policy and performance in relation to matters appearing to concern the public interest.