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Published 8 May 2014
This month we've had a couple of helpful judgments concerning whistleblowing. Both look at the topic of whether an employee had been subjected to a detriment because they had blown the whistle. Both of the cases highlight that employment tribunals can and should make distinctions between alleged protected disclosures themselves and the steps taken by the employer to deal with the disclosures and/or to manage the employee who has made them.
In the past month we have also alerted you to a case looking at whether various pension changes which IBM sought to make were lawful. If you missed our alert click here.
In this case the High Court ordered that an employer could instruct an independent computer expert to inspect and take images from the personal computers of two former employees.
ACAS has published a leaflet, Early Conciliation explained, which explains how the new early conciliation procedure works. As we set out in our last alert early conciliation has been available for most employment tribunal claims presented on or after 6 April 2014. It is a mandatory first step from 6 May 2014.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has held unanimously that the UK's ban on secondary industrial action, colloquially known as "sympathy strikes", is lawful and not an unjustified interference with a union's right, under Article 11 of the Convention, to freedom of association.
In this case the EAT found that employees had transferred to a parent company following the share purchase of a subsidiary. They also found that as there were no elected representatives the employees themselves had been entitled to bring claims for a failure to inform and consult.
Although most of the 2014 amendments to TUPE came into force on 31 January 2014, the longer timeframe for providing employee liability information did not. This came into force on 1 May.
In this case the EAT took the opportunity to set out guidance for employment tribunals when assessing whistleblowing cases.
In this case the EAT held that it was possible to separate the fact that a policeman had made protected disclosures from the fact he was subjected to detriments and ultimately dismissed.
Mark Roach, Maisie Hull
Adam Jason, Ashley Simpson
Duncan Greenwood, Charlie Bending
Duncan Greenwood, James Hazlett
Corinne Slingo, Tracey Longfield, Gill Weatherill