Whistleblowing and Public Concern - Blake Turner Solicitors

Whistleblowing and Public Concern at Work


Whistleblowing and Public Concern : N was employed as a director of the Mayfair office of CG Ltd, a firm of estate agents. On three separate occasions, N informed the senior managers that there were inaccuracies in the company’s accounts and that the figures were being manipulated to benefit shareholders. He believed costs and liabilities had been deliberately misstated and inaccurate figures were used to calculate commission payments to over 100 senior managers; including himself.

N was subsequently dismissed. He brought claims including automatically unfair dismissal for having made a protected disclosure.

The employment tribunal found that N had a reasonable belief that the disclosures were made in the public interest and upheld N’s claim. Although N had a personal motivation in raising the allegations, the tribunal were satisfied that he had the other managers in mind and they encompassed a sufficiently large section of the public to engage the public interest. CG Ltd appealed on the basis that in order for a disclosure to be in the public interest, it must serve persons outside of the workplace. The Court needed to consider the meaning of the words “in the public interest.” The appeal was subsequently dismissed.


The Court has concluded that disclosure can be made in the ‘reasonable belief it is in the public interest’ if it relates to a contractual dispute affecting a group of employees and not just the wider public.

The crux of the decision is that whistleblowing protection may be available even where an employee’s primary concern is his own employment. The decision should be a reminder to employers in both the public and private sector and they should take care before disciplining or dismissing employees who have made complaints which could involve a public interest element.

IMPORTANT: This blog is only intended as a general statement of the law and no action should be taken in reliance on it without specific legal advice.

For further information on this or any other employment related matters please contact Rupert Farr on: 020 7952 6216 or rupert.farr@blaketurner.com.

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