Whistleblower Ruling

24 October 2018

disciplinary

Court of Appeal Judges have upheld a landmark £2m award in whistleblowing case that named the directors for unfairly dismissing an employee.

The judges unanimously ruled the Employment Appeal Tribunal decision in favour of the former Chief Executive had been correctly applied.

The ruling establishes that individual directors who decide to dismiss someone for making protected disclosures can be held personally liable and face financial consequences.

Following a series of disagreements between the CEO and the Chairperson including concerns over tender decisions, the CEO was dismissed and brought a claim for unfair dismissal and victimisation on the grounds of being a whistleblower.

A ruling in favour of the CEO provided a significant financial award and held the Chairperson and second Stakeholder individually liable.  

Employers will have to prove they took all reasonable steps within their organisation to prevent unfair treatment, specifically when related to whistleblowing.  

Employers should also be mindful that unfairly dismissed employees may be entitled to an injury-to-feelings award against the individual manager or director and the employer could also be vicariously liable.

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