Court of Appeal ruling gives guidance on “public interest test”
In the case of Chesterton Global Ltd and another v Nurmohamed an appeal by the employer, arguing that the disclosure of confidential profit and loss figures by its former senior manager Mr Nurmohamed had not been in the public interest, has been rejected.
Nurmohamed had raised concerns that Chestertons’ accounts had been deliberately manipulated under a new commissioning structure, leading to reduced commission for a hundred other managers, of which he was one. Following dismissal, he brought an unfair dismissal claim arguing that his disclosure had been in the public interest.
Both the ET and EAT found in Nurmohamed’s favour. Chestertons appeal was based on the argument that the previous hearings had focused too much on the relatively small number of people affected and should have looked instead at the nature and background of the disclosure.
The Court of Appeal has established that what is or is not in the public interest is not just about the numbers of people affected, and that other factors – such as the identity and prominence of the whistle blower, and the nature of the wrongdoing on the part of the employer – must also be taken into account.