Detriment for blowing the whistle

16 February 2018

Workers who are whistleblowers have protection from dismissal and detriment (being treated badly) because they blew that whistle on their employers.

These so called ‘protected disclosures’ may be disclosures of information about a criminal offence, or breach of health and safety, or other legal obligations. An example of a detriment is refusing to promote someone because they blew the whistle on you.

Dr Malik was employed by Cenkos Securites Plc. During his employment, he made various disclosures, some of which were protected. At or around the same time, various issues arose concerning whether Dr Malik had failed to declare conflicts of interest. He was suspended by Cenkos’s Head of Compliance. Mr Malik argued that the Head of Compliance was motivated by his protected disclosures.  He brought a claim in the employment tribunal, and lost all his claims. He appealed to the EAT, stating that there was a conspiracy and that others involved in the conspiracy were motivated by the fact that he had made protected disclosures.

However, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has ruled that the person who imposes the detriment must be personally motivated by the protected disclosure that the employee made (for example, if a manager decides not to promote an employee because he disclosed information about a health and safety breach). The knowledge and motivation of another, should not be attributed to an innocent decision maker.

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