Whistleblowing: concerns raised out of self-interest were not qualifying disclosures


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The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held in Parsons v Airplus International Limited that an employee who raised compliance issues purely out of concern for her own potential liability did not make a qualifying disclosure for the purposes of gaining whistleblowing protection.

Ms Parsons was employed as a Legal and Compliance Officer for a period of a month. During this time she raised compliance concerns and various complaints were made about her rude and disrespectful manner when raising these concerns. Her employment was terminated with two weeks' pay in lieu of notice and she brought a claim for automatically unfair dismissal for having made protected disclosures.

Both the tribunal, and the EAT, found that the matters raised by Ms Parsons were not qualifying disclosures as, amongst other things, they were raised solely in her own self-interest, and not in the public interest. They found that she was dismissed for her rude and irrational behaviour and her failure to listen to, or take on board, what her colleagues had to say.

Take note: The decision in Parsons makes it clear that if a protected disclosure is made solely out of self-interest it will not qualify for whistleblowing protection. This was not a case like that of Chesterton v Nurmohamed where an estate agent's complaints about the manipulation of accounts which potentially affected the bonuses of 100 senior managers amounted to a protected disclosure in the public interest. While he was principally concerned with his own position Mr Nurmohamed did have other senior managers in mind and, as a section of the public would be affected, the public interest test was satisfied.

This article is taken from HR Law January 2018.

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