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Disclosures in the public interest where only a small group is affected

9 April 2015

Mr Nurmohamed told senior managers he believed his employer had deliberately misstated £2-3 million of costs and liabilities, affecting the earnings of 100 senior managers, including himself. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) upheld his automatic unfair dismissal claim – the disclosure was in the interests of the 100 senior managers, which was a sufficient group of the public for the matter to be in the public interest.

The EAT upheld the decision – the question is whether the worker reasonably believes it is in the public interest. The test ensures that workers do not try to rely solely on breaches of their own employment contract which has no wider public interest implications. The tribunal was satisfied Mr N had the 100 senior managers in mind and was entitled to conclude that a section of the public was affected.

This is the first EAT decision on the ‘public interest test’ since it was added into whistleblowing provisions, giving a useful indication of how tribunals will determine the test moving forwards.

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