Addleshaw Goddard

UK 200 2013 position: 23

EAT decision on when communications may qualify as a disclosure for whistleblowing purposes

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has recently clarified two important issues in relation to whistleblowing. First, a qualifying disclosure may be made in a series of separate communications (in this case, emails) even if: (i) they are not sent to the same person or department; and (ii) taken separately, each communication is not such a disclosure. Secondly, drawing an employer’s attention to a dangerous state of affairs is capable of amounting to a disclosure of information for these purposes (Norbrook Laboratories (GB) Ltd v Shaw).

Mr Shaw worked for Norbrook as a sales and business communications manager, managing a team of territory managers who operated throughout the UK. The territory managers drove to customers and prospects in order to obtain sales. In the early winter of 2010, the road conditions were particularly severe due to large snowfalls. Territory managers were raising concerns with Mr Shaw about travelling to their appointments and whether they would still be paid their wages if they did not travel…

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