What is Reprisal

The Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA) aims to protect public sector employees who wish to speak up about wrongdoing related to their organization by prohibiting acts of retaliation, called reprisal.

Reprisal includes any action taken by management, peers or any other person which negatively impacts an employee’s employment or working conditions where that action was taken because an employee reported wrongdoing, sought advice about making a report, or cooperated with an investigation under PIDA.

Reprisal can take many forms and may include:

  • a change in hours or work location
  • harassment, bullying or threats
  • reprimand, suspension, demotion, layoff or dismissal
  • counselling another person to take any of these measures

Reprisal is an offence.

It is also an offence under PIDA to take reprisal against a contractor because the contractor or their employees cooperated with a PIDA investigation. Reprisal measures against contractors include terminating a contract, withholding payment or refusing to enter into a subsequent contract.

Under PIDA, the Ombudsperson cannot investigate reprisal complaints from contractors. Contractors should speak with their lawyer if their government contract is affected following cooperation with a PIDA investigation.