Penningtons Manches

UK 200 2013 position: 90

Whistleblowing — what caused the detriment?

In a whistleblowing case, is it possible to distinguish between protected disclosures and the manner in which the whistleblower pursues his complaint? It is, according to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in Panayiotou v Kernaghan.

In this case, a police officer made a number of serious protected disclosures to senior officers. These were investigated and the officer was found to be largely correct with his concerns. However, the officer was not satisfied with the outcome and continued to campaign to right those wrongs that, in his view, had not been corrected. The tribunal accepted that this made him, over time, ‘completely unmanageable’. Matters came to a head some years later. The officer was subject to a Police Regulations 2003 ‘device’ to effect his dismissal on the basis of an incompatible business interest, namely involvement in his wife’s hospitality business. While the tribunal had a number of significant concerns, it ultimately found that the detriments and dismissal were in no sense whatsoever connected with the fact he had made protected disclosures some years earlier. Instead, it found they were due to escalating frustration that arose, among other reasons, due to his relentless campaigning…

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