The Court of Appeal has ruled on a significant test case in relation to whistleblowing and public interest.
In Chesterton Global Ltd and another v Nurmohamed, the case considers the approach to be taken by tribunals when deciding if a disclosure is “in the public interest” – a requirement for statutory whistleblowing protection.
The measure was introduced in June 2013 to prevent workers from using whistleblowing protection laws to bring claims where they make disclosures about a breach of their own employment contract.
Mr Nurmohamed, a senior manager at Chesterton Global estate agents, had raised concerns that there were misstatements in the organisation’s management accounts, which he alleged were designed to reduce the amount of commission paid to himself and around 100 other workers.
The tribunal ruled that his disclosures were in the public interest – a judgement which was later upheld by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT).
The Court of Appeal concluded that the statutory test of what is “in the public interest” does not follow absolute rules, and that a number of factors should be taken into account.
In this instance, the appeal was dismissed. The factors taken into account were that a large London property firm had deliberately taken steps to limit the commission of more than 100 employees.