A Royal Mail employee was unfairly dismissed for blowing the whistle, not for the alleged poor performance – based on false information – that the company’s HR department suggested was the reason for her dismissal, the Supreme Court has ruled.
The landmark judgment extends the scope of whistleblower protection and suggests that employers will need to ensure they have the complete information before dismissing an employee.
Amanda Lathia commented:
“The Supreme Court has unanimously decided that where the reason for an employee’s dismissal is based on an ‘invented reason’ brought about by a person higher up in the hierarchy, this reason cannot be allowed to affect the decision to dismiss.
“Today’s turning-point decision will mean that a whistleblower who suffers a detriment by another employee to the point of dismissal by her employer will be treated as being unfairly dismissed even if the decision to dismiss is deemed fair. This brings the whistleblowing provisions under the Employment Rights Act 1996 more in line with discrimination provisions under the Equality Act 2010 where there is no distinction between a detriment and dismissal.
“Employers should take note of the shift in how dismissal should be decided under the 1996 Act: a fair and reasonable procedure is no longer enough. Employers will need to investigate the real causes of grievances in the workplace.”
Read the full article in Personnel Today here.