Quick read

Did protected disclosures lead to dismissal?

Gateley Legal

Article by

Secure Care Ltd v Mott

Where an employee has reported concerns of malpractice to their employer which they reasonably believe are in the public interest they may gain protection against dismissal as a whistleblower. The employer may not have realised that the concerns were being raised as public interest disclosures but they will still be liable if that is shown to be the reason for dismissal. In the case of Secure Care Ltd v Mott the dispute was regarding whether the protected disclosure had been the cause of dismissal.

Facts

Mr Mott was a logistics manager. He had made a number of complaints to his employer about staff shortages, long working hours, rest breaks and other staffing difficulties, which he said endangered health and safety. He had subsequently been selected for redundancy together with two others. Mr Mott complained that his selection was down to him making protected disclosures and his dismissal was automatically unfair. He relied on nine disclosures that he stated amounted to whistleblowing. 

Decision

The initial decision was that his claim succeeded. A Tribunal found that three of his nine disclosures did qualify for protection and then went on to conclude that it had been him 'pointing out problems' in all the communications that had a material effect on his selection for redundancy. The Employment Appeal Tribunal held the employer’s appeal had to be allowed as it was crucial that the protected disclosures were found to be  the "sole or principal reason" for dismissal without regard to the other communications.

Key takeaway point

The case will need to be considered again to decide whether the three protected disclosures identified by the Tribunal were the sole or principal reason for Mr Mott’s dismissal. In practice many claimants tend to put forward numerous disclosures and argue that each one qualifies as a protected disclosure. This decision is a useful reminder that those which are found to be non-protected disclosures may hinder a claimant succeeding in circumstances where they have influenced the employer’s decision.

Do you require any more information regarding this case?

If you have any queries regarding this case, please get in touch with our expert listed below who will be happy to advise you and visit our employment page for information on all of the services we offer.

Gateley Plc is authorised and regulated by the SRA (Solicitors' Regulation Authority). Please visit the SRA website for details of the professional conduct rules which Gateley Legal must comply with.

SubscribeHide

Forward thinking insight

Direct to your email inbox

Subscribe now