Whistleblowing: Dismissal as an Act of Detriment

News  |   7 March 2024

Written by
James Millican, Paralegal

On 4 March 2024, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) determined that an employee could not bring a claim of whistleblowing detriment against his employer, where the act of detriment relied upon was his dismissal.

In Wicked Vision v Rice, the Claimant brought a claim of automatic unfair dismissal against the Respondent. This was on the basis that he was dismissed because he had made protected disclosures. The Claimant then attempted to amend his claim, to add that the act of dismissing him was a detriment on the grounds of whistleblowing, and that the Respondent was liable for this. This amendment succeeded in the Tribunal, however the EAT disagreed with, and overturned this decision.

The law states that if an employee is dismissed due to whistleblowing, their claim against their employer in relation to the dismissal is for automatic unfair dismissal, and that the act of dismissal cannot be brought as a detriment claim against the employer. The Claimant could make a detriment claim against the individual dismissing officer, but they would not be able to claim the detriment of dismissal against the employer. The EAT clarified that in this case, the correct claim was the one that the claimant originally brought to the Tribunal, this being automatic unfair dismissal.

This ruling provides additional clarity regarding the potential claims for unfair dismissal and claims for detriment, in addition to establishing that an employee’s claim for being subjected to a detriment cannot be pursued simultaneously as a claim for unfair dismissal, the latter of which would take precedence.