(unreported, UKEAT/0163/15 27 August 2015, EAT)
Issue: Whistleblowing - public interest
An HGV driver and three colleagues complained about the safety and road-worthiness of their lorries and after doing so alleged they were then granted less overtime and paid less. After raising this complaint, the driver was dismissed.
He claimed automatically unfair dismissal and detriment as a result of the protected disclosure he had made. The issue was whether a contractual dispute between employees and their employer was a matter of public interest and if the claim had no reasonable prospect of success.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal held that an employee may rely on the whistleblowing legislation in relation to a complaint about the application of terms in their own contract of employment where there is a public interest dimension to the complaint. Because the complaint related to concerns about vehicle safety and road-worthiness, it could be considered a matter of public interest.
The claim would therefore proceed to another hearing to determine whether the driver was dismissed because he had made a protected disclosure.
Implications for employers
- Employers should be aware that employees may bring claims on the basis of allegations about their own contracts (which seems to be bringing the position closer to how the law used to be before 2013).
- If an employee can show that they were dismissed because of whistleblowing they do not need two years’ service to bring a claim of unfair dismissal. The dismissal will be automatically unfair and the compensation is unlimited.
- When the whistleblowing legislation was introduced in 1998 it was drafted so widely that employees simply making a disclosure about their own contracts were included.
- In 2013 the legislation was amended so that a disclosure had to be made 'in the public interest.' What is meant by 'the public interest' has not been entirely clear.
- Previous cases such as Chesterton Global Ltd v Nurmohamed decided that the term 'public' could mean a small group of the public, including other employees employed by the same employer.
- Employees may therefore bring claims based on their own contracts if there is a health and safety or other public interest element to the claim.
- Employers may need to keep their whistleblowing policies under review to see if complaints about employees' own terms and conditions are included as possible matters of concern falling within the policy.
Беккер вздохнул, взвешивая свои возможности. Где ей еще быть в субботний вечер. Проклиная судьбу, он вылез из автобуса.
К клубу вела узкая аллея. Как только он оказался там, его сразу же увлек за собой поток молодых людей.