Case law updates

Tribunal condemns failure of procedure in whistleblower’s dismissal

The former CEO of a medical staffing agency who was dismissed after raising concerns over financial discrepancies and tax avoidance has been awarded £60,000 by an employment tribunal, in compensation for unfair dismissal and injury to feelings as a result of protected disclosure detriment.

The London Central Employment Tribunal found that Capital Care Services (CCS) subjected Faiza Rizvi to protected disclosure detriments after she raised concerns that both CCS and its parent company, Positive Healthcare, were deliberately taking large sums of money out of the business to avoid paying tax.

CCS threatened to report her to newspapers, accused her of fraud, blocked access to her company email account and disconnected her mobile telephone. In dismissing her summarily CCS failed to follow a fair procedure, but, as the Tribunal put it, they were “not interested in establishing the truth of any allegations against [Rizvi], but simply wished to dismiss her, come what may.”

The Tribunal found CCS had not invited Rizvi to a disciplinary meeting before sending the letter of dismissal and had not provided any written evidence or written statements. It did not investigate the allegations against Rizvi before dismissing her, nor hold a disciplinary meeting. It also did not provide her with any right of appeal against her dismissal.

The company had, in summary, behaved in an “unreasonable and oppressive way” and that “the reason for the dismissal was the fact that the claimant had made protected disclosures.” The claimant’s dismissal was therefore ruled automatically unfair.