23 October 2015: Whistleblowing and the Public Interest:
In order to pursue a whistleblowing claim, the employee has to show that he made the disclosure ‘in the public interest.’ In Chestertons v Nurmohamed earlier this year it was found that a complaint regarding the bonuses of 100 or so colleagues was in the public interest.
In Underwood v Wincanton plc this week the EAT confirmed that a dispute relating to contractual terms can be a matter of “public interest”.
The dispute involved Wincanton plc and a group of only four employees relating to their collective complaint about the allocation of overtime. This disclosure was capable of being in the public interest, and therefore they could seek protection under Whistleblowing legislation (s43A Employment Rights Act 1996).
With a qualifying period of two years to bring unfair dismissal claims, many employees will try to argue that they were automatically unfairly dismissed for making a Protected Disclosure (for which 2 years’ service are not required). The Underwood v Wincanton decision may make it easier for them to do so. However if Mr Underwood’s complaint had related solely to himself, it would not have been a Protected Disclosure.
Call today on 0207 118 0950 to speak to an employment solicitor about unfair dismissal, whistleblowing or anything else. www.reculversolicitors.co.uk