Tribunal Strengthens Whistleblowers’ Rights

2nd July 2014

Tribunal Strengthens Whistleblowers’ Rights

image (63)

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), which hears appeals from Employment Tribunals, has ruled that a Health and Safety Consultant was a legally protected ‘worker’ for the purposes of the whistleblowing legislation, despite not having the benefit of an employment contract. Workers are protected, and entitled to compensation under the legislation, if they have been subjected to a detriment and they can show that it was because they made a protected disclosure, in other words they disclosed some wrongdoing by the business.

As was agreed to be commonplace in the industry, the Consultant’s engagement by an energy recovery business had been arranged by an employment agency and he had provided his services through a one-man company. He had no direct contractual relationship with the business.

After he launched proceedings, claiming that he had been subjected to detrimental treatment for making a protected disclosure, he faced arguments that he did not fit the definition of a ‘worker’ within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA). Those submissions did not persuade an Employment Tribunal and the Consultant was permitted to proceed with his claim.

In dismissing the business’s appeal, the EAT noted that the underlying purpose of the ERA was to provide protection to whistleblowers and others who are not formally employed. It was the will of Parliament that such protection should be afforded, rather than denied, wherever that could properly be achieved.

It was the business that largely dictated the terms and conditions under which the consultant worked. He had been ‘sourced’ as an individual who met the business’s requirements; he had viewed himself as an integral part of its workforce and he did not have the right to nominate another to work in his place.

The ruling has opened the way for the Consultant to pursue his claim to a full hearing.

Comment

This decision extends the scope of the whistleblowing legislation to those who for all intents and purposes are self-employed and therefore significantly strengthens the hand of workplace whistleblowers. The decision is also a good example of the courts and tribunals taking a purposive approach to legislation.

Blog Posts

Heart Attacks and why women are more at risk

06/12/2019

A British Heart Foundation report released this year found that women who suffer heart…

Read More
Upcoming Events

How to ensure your employees really ARE your greatest asset

24/09/2019

This is an invitation only event. Gotelee's employment law Partners, Andrew West and Marie…

Read More
News Posts

Gotelee Solicitors LLP welcomes new Dispute Resolution Partner to commercial team

05/11/2019

The Partners and staff are delighted to welcome Andrew Breckenridge to the firm from…

Read More

Testimonials

"This is by far the go-to firm for any issues. You are made to feel valued from the outset and they are so confident in what they do. Wouldn't recommend any other. Thank you Hugh and Max."

- Ros Jones

"Jade made the process of buying our first home quick, easy and took the stress out of a new chapter of our lives"

-

"I have used Tracey Laflin at Gotelee on a number of occasions and in my opinion, she is simply the most efficient conveyancing solicitor I have ever worked with. From the outset, she took the time to understand my specific business requirements and to date, she has exceeded all of my expectations."

- Dale Fiddy - Portobello Developments Ltd

"I would like to say thank you for your help, support and guidance over the last two and a half years. Obviously should I need further assistance in the future I shall not hesitate to call you guys."

-

"Jade Shelton was absolutely fantastic!! Professional and proactive at all times."

- JH

"We found Rachel Dawson outstanding, polite, professional and caring."

-

"The ease that we could access and speak to Pat Smith - Thank you"

-

"Domini was very fast and efficient in carrying out her work for me - she was also very good at explaining things to me"

-

"We were very pleased to have Jade as our solicitor, the service was excellent and we felt kept in the loop which minimised stress"

- CT

"Prompt, helpful, polite and very professional service"

-

Please select preferred method of contact

* We will only contact you by telephone if you select this as primary form of contact. All web enquiries will be stored on our website for 30 days.