Morgan v Royal Mencap Society: update on whistleblowing and the public interest test
In recent blogs, we’ve looked at several cases that concern the public interest test for a whistleblowing claim. Particularly the the Nurmohamed and Chesterton Global case, which is on appeal.
You may recall that this public interest test is a new introduction to the whistleblowing regime, having replaced the requirement that disclosures be made ‘in good faith’.
While the phrase ‘public interest’ might suggest an issue that affects the public at large, the reality is that Tribunals are construing it on a far, far narrower basis.
Morgan v Royal Mencap Society
In this case, the Claimant complained that her cramped working conditions posed a risk to her health and safety.
She later said that these complaints were protected disclosures.
An Employment Tribunal took the unusual step of striking out the claims at a Preliminary Hearing.
Even though there had been no evidence from the Claimant, they looked at what would have been the Claimant’s case at its highest and decided that such disclosures were not in the public interest.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal reversed this decision.
It pointing out that if she genuinely believed her particular, personal complaints were nonetheless in the wider interest of other employees generally, then that might satisfy the public interest test.
What this means for you
Whistleblowing claims are not common. And when they’re encountered, it’s usually fairly weak cases brought simply because someone doesn’t have two years’ service, so is unable to bring an unfair dismissal case.
But if you ever get to the point where you’re wondering whether a complaint satisfies the public interest test, then it’s as well to err on the side of caution.
These issues will be considered when the appeal in the Chesterton case is heard later this year.
Need advice? Get in touch today
Please call Ted Flanagan on 01482 324252.
Or email Ted here.
You can find out more about our Employment Law services here.
- Underwood v Wincanton Plc: whistleblowing and the meaning of public interest
- When is whistleblowing in the public interest?
- Whistleblowing and protected disclosures: the case of Norbrook Laboratories (UK) Ltd v Shaw
- New changes to whistleblowing laws
The content on our site is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content on our site.
Although we make reasonable efforts to update the information on our site, we make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content on our site is accurate, complete or up-to-date.