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Legal Updates

Are whistleblowers protected after termination of employment

19 April 2013 #Employment

We know that employees who blow the whistle while employed are protected if they are then subjected to a detriment by their employer.  But what if an ex-employee whistleblows, would this be regarded as a ‘protected disclosure’ allowing the employee to claim a remedy under the Employment Rights Act 1996?

In the recent case of Onyango –v- Berkeley Solicitors, a solicitor had sent a letter of complaint to the Legal Complaints Service about his former employer, Berkeley, and had also sent Berkeley a letter before claim.  Both of these he did after his employment had ended.  Following this, Berkeley reported him to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) accusing him of forgery and dishonesty.  As a result he was investigated by the SRA.

The solicitor brought a claim against his former employer due to their actions in reporting him to the SRA.  His claim was that Berkeley had subjected him to a detriment for making two protected disclosures (namely the complaint to the Legal Complaints Service and the letter before complaint).

The Employment Tribunal held that the disclosure post-termination could not be regarded as a protected disclosure.  However, this has subsequently been overruled by the Employment Appeal Tribunal.  Disclosure post-termination is therefore a protected disclosure, although of course this is subject to change if this or another case goes to a further appeal.

As a result employers should be careful to ensure that any former employees who blow the whistle, even after they’ve left, do not suffer a detriment at their hands.

Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

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