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Whistle blowers protected after employment has ended
In a case which may have quite a significant impact, the EAT has held, in Onyango v Berkeley t/a Berkeleys Solicitors that employees are protected from less favourable treatment for whistle blowing even where the whistle blowing allegation is made after the employment is ended.
When the Claimant’s employment ended he made a report to the Legal Complaints Service concurrently with sending a letter before action to the Respondent. The Respondent then made allegations of forgery and dishonesty against the Claimant which resulted in him being investigated by the Solicitor’s Regulatory Authority. The Employment Tribunal wrongly held that he could not bring claims for detrimental treatment because the whistle blowing had been made after his employment ended. However this was overturned by the EAT, which held that the statutory wording did not limit protection for those making disclosures only to those disclosures which were made during the currency of the Employment.
Therefore ex-employees who whistle blow and are treated detrimentally because of this will be protected by the legislation.
There are a number of changes to the whistle blowing legislation about to come into force through the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill and the decision in this case will serve to add to these.
This legal update is provided for general information purposes only and should not be applied to specific circumstances without prior consultation with us.
For further details on any of the issues covered in this update please contact Gemma Ospedale, Partner in Employment on 020 7583 2222.
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