A recent Supreme Court ruling in favour of a Royal Mail employee is set to bring added protection for whistleblowers.
The unanimous decision by the Supreme Court came after a protracted legal case brought by Kamaljeet Jhuti, who worked as a media specialists for the Royal Mail’s MarketReach unit.
In November 2013, Ms Jhuti raised concerns about a colleague, stating that they had been breaching Ofcom regulations and company policy by making improper offers to repeat customers.
Following this, she claimed that her line manager, Mike Widmer, made attempts to force her from the company by setting unrealistic targets for her.
The court heard that her manager sent multiple emails to HR regarding her performance, with one email stating that if her performance did not improve, the business would consider “exiting” her.
She was dismissed in July 2014 following a review, conducted by another manager, into her alleged underperformance. But the manager that conducted the review was not made aware of her complaints against her line manager, or of her concerns about a breach of company policy.
An employment tribunal initially rejected Jhuti’s unfair dismissal claim, stating that the firing manager was not aware that a protected disclosure had been made and that they legitimately believe that her performance had been inadequate.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal disagreed, finding that it did not matter that the firing manager was not aware of the protected disclosure, but this decision was then overturned by the Court of Appeal.
The Supreme Court has now upheld Jhuti’s appeal, ruling that when an employee is dismissed following a protected disclosure, that the dismissal will be ruled unfair, even if the person who takes the decision to dismiss the employee is unaware that whistleblowing was the reason for the dismissal.
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