Fresh hope in whistleblowing case

Posted: 16th July 2015

WhistleA businesswoman whose dismissal came soon after the end of her close personal relationship with her boss has won a fresh opportunity to prove that she was unfairly sacked for whistleblowing by the company they managed together.

The couple lived and worked together until her dismissal. Her role was that of company secretary and she was a shareholder. An Employment Tribunal (ET) later accepted that her dismissal was procedurally unfair but awarded her just £380 on the basis that their business relationship had irretrievably broken down and that her dismissal was thus inevitable.

The woman also claimed that her dismissal was automatically unfair in that it was prompted by protected disclosures she had made about her boss in the wake of the breakdown of their personal relationship. However, the ET ruled that there was no basis for her whistleblowing claims and struck them out.

In allowing her appeal, the Employment Appeal Tribunal described the ET’s ruling as draconian. It failed to make findings as to whether the disclosures were made to a legal adviser or other prescribed person. It also erred in finding that her disclosures to the tax authorities were not protected because she had not told her boss about them. The matter was sent back to the ET for reconsideration.