ICAEW.com works better with JavaScript enabled.

Case law: Employees cannot claim dismissal was for whistleblowing if relevant disclosure was solely in their own self-interest

Employers faced with a whistleblowing claim from an employee should investigate the employee's motives for making their disclosure, as disclosures made purely in the employee's self-interest will not amount to whistleblowing.

January 2018

This update was published in Legal Alert - January 2018

Legal Alert is a monthly checklist from Atom Content Marketing highlighting new and pending laws, regulations, codes of practice and rulings that could have an impact on your business.

An employee made a disclosure to her employer in her own interests and was subsequently dismissed. She claimed she had been dismissed for making a 'protected disclosure', ie. whistleblowing. If she was right it would mean her dismissal was automatically unfair, and she was entitled to compensation.

Her employer argued that a disclosure was only a 'protected disclosure' for whistleblowing purposes if it was made in the public interest, whereas her disclosure in her own self-interest. The employer was also able to show that the dismissal was justified for other reasons – reasons which were genuinely separable from any protected disclosure by the employee.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled in the employer's failure: the employee had only had her own self-interest in mind when making the disclosure, so her dismissal was not unfair.

Operative date

  • Now

Recommendation

  • Employers faced with a whistleblowing claim from an employee should investigate the employee's motives for making their disclosure, as disclosures made purely in the employee's self-interest will not amount to whistleblowing

Case ref: Parson v Airplus International Ltd UKEAT/0111/17/JOJ

Disclaimer: This article from Atom Content Marketing is for general guidance only, for businesses in the United Kingdom governed by the laws of England. Atom Content Marketing, expert contributors and ICAEW (as distributor) disclaim all liability for any errors or omissions.