12 May 2015
UK Employees Advised to Take Care Following Chevron Whistleblower
In 2011, non-profit conservation organisation Amazon Watch was sent tapes which have been reported to show Chevron workers trying to find clean soil samples from land in Ecuador, which the company allegedly ruined.
The area of Lago Agrio is said to have been contaminated by Texaco in the 70s before they were bought out by Chevron.
The tapes, which were internal company videos, were released to the public in April 2015. They include interviews with local residents who live near the contaminated sites and claim that the oil giant failed to properly clean up before they left Ecuador, instead just covering the sites with soil. Other footage shows Chevron technicians surveying their former sites looking for clean water and taking soil samples ahead of the site visits from the judge in charge of the trial against Chevron.
Amazon Watch received the package, with dozens of DVDs all labelled pre-inspection, in the post with an unusual note from the anonymous whistleblower. The note read, “I hope this is useful for you in the trial against Texaco/Chevron! Signed, a friend from Chevron.”
Different countries have different laws about the way in which you should disclose information. In order to ensure your employment rights are protected in Great Britain, you should seek legal advice from a specialist lawyer if you are thinking about blowing the whistle.
Slater and Gordon’s Samantha Mangwana, a Principal Lawyer in the Employment Team, explains:
“When whistleblowing, it’s important to report in the correct way so as to protect yourself if you then suffer reprisals. Workers must be particularly cautious about potentially breaching confidential information; risking disciplinary action, dismissal and in some cases costly commercial lawsuits. It can be worth taking advice on how to tread carefully to ensure that your disclosures are made in accordance with the law.”