Monday 22nd January 2018
In upholding the ET’s decision in Parsons v Airplus International Ltd, the EAT has confirmed that disclosures made by an employee solely out of concern for their own self-interest do not amount to qualifying disclosures under the ERA 1996.
Even if not the only reason for disclosure, there must be some belief that the disclosure is in the public interest.
Ms Parsons was a qualified, but non-practicing barrister, employed as a Legal and Compliance Officer. She was dismissed after 6 weeks and brought a claim for automatic unfair dismissal, alleging she had made protected disclosures.
The ET held that Ms Parsons had made only one disclosure of information potentially capable of protection, that Airplus was in breach of its obligations by allowing its consumer credit licence (CCL) to lapse. While it did not change the outcome, the EAT did find a second disclosure potentially capable of protection, considering that the ET had wrongly found that the employer’s previous knowledge of the information prevented it being a qualifying disclosure.
However, the ET found that Ms Parsons was only concerned for her own potential personal liability and not the public interest. Further, the ET also held that the decision to dismiss was genuinely separable from any disclosure.
The EAT held the ET had properly applied the CA decision in Chesterton Global Ltd v Nurmohamed which made clear that a disclosure must not be motivated only by self-interest. In addition the ET had properly analysed the reason for dismissal and rightly found that Airplus was not concerned by the disclosure of information, but with her subsequent conduct.
All information in this update is intended for general guidance only and is not intended to be comprehensive, or to provide legal advice.