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25 January 2013
Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT)
HHJ Peter Clark, Baroness Drake of Shene and Mr B Warman
Workers who are treated detrimentally because they have made a ‘protected disclosure' (broadly a disclosure suggesting that someone has acted illegally) may complain to an employment tribunal. This case shows that the protection covers disclosures made after employment has ended.
After O's employment with a firm of solicitors ended, he wrote to his former employers threatening to sue them; and he sent a report to the Legal Complaints Service. The firm then made allegations against him of forgery and dishonesty, which led to an investigation by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority. He complained to an employment tribunal that the allegations were a detriment imposed because of his threat of legal action and report to the Legal Complaints Service.
A tribunal rejected the complaint because, it said, the protected disclosure was made after he had left and the legislation only applies to disclosures during employment.
That was wrong, the EAT said. The whistle-blowing provisions of the Employment Rights Act 1996 apply to disclosures made after employment has ended.
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