Case law: Employees cannot claim dismissal was for whistleblowing if relevant disclosure was solely in their own self-interest

Employers faced with a whistleblowing claim from an employee should investigate the employee's motives for making their disclosure, as disclosures made purely in the employee's self-interest will not amount to whistleblowing.

An employee made a disclosure to her employer in her own interests and was subsequently dismissed. She claimed she had been dismissed for making a 'protected disclosure', ie. whistleblowing. If she was right it would mean her dismissal was automatically unfair, and she was entitled to compensation.

Her employer argued that a disclosure was only a 'protected disclosure' for whistleblowing purposes if it was made in the public interest, whereas her disclosure in her own self-interest. The employer was also able to show that the dismissal was justified for other reasons - reasons which were genuinely separable from any protected disclosure by the employee.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled in the employer's failure: the employee had only had her own self-interest in mind when making the disclosure, so her dismissal was not unfair.

Operative date

  • Now

Recommendation

  • Employers faced with a whistleblowing claim from an employee should investigate the employee's motives for making their disclosure, as disclosures made purely in the employee's self-interest will not amount to whistleblowing

Case ref: Parson v Airplus International Ltd UKEAT/0111/17/JOJ

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