Whistleblowing law protects LLP members

Posted: 28th May 2014

WhistleThe Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) is a relatively new creature in UK law, so the law relating to this form of ownership is still developing.

One key question that has arisen is the employment status of LLP members, which has come into focus following a legal battle which arose when an LLP member was expelled from a law firm after making protected disclosures regarding her suspicions of money laundering offences in connection with a Tanzanian firm with which the LLP had links.

Following her expulsion by Clydes, Krista Bates van Winkelhof claimed that she was automatically unfairly dismissed, because for a 'worker' to be dismissed for whistleblowing is (with very tight exceptions) automatically unfair.

The firm claimed that the legislation that protects whistleblowers did not apply since, as a member of the LLP, she was effectively a partner in a professional firm, not a 'worker'.

The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which has ruled decisively in the claimant's favour. The result means that she can now pursue her claim for compensation for unfair dismissal before the Employment Tribunal.