A man who worked as a project manager at construction firm Balfour Beatty has been given the go ahead to sue his former employer for unfair dismissal.
Alan Dransfield, 59, was employed by the company for over four years and raised concerns over health and safety in November 2008. Two months after blowing the whistle, he was told the company wanted to make him redundant.
Mr. Dransfield appealed the decision and was put on leave for five months. His appeal was ultimately dismissed, however, and he became officially redundant in June 2009.
Mr. Dransfield has now launched a claim for unfair dismissal under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. At a case management meeting on 27 October, a judge gave him permission to pursue a claim worth up to £300,000, which reflects his anticipated loss of earnings.
A spokesperson for Balfour Beatty commented: "Balfour Beatty takes whistleblowing cases very seriously and investigates each one following the processes we have in place."
What is whistleblowing?
If you believe your employer is guilty of malpractice or serious wrongdoing, the law permits 'blowing whistle' on the behaviour and protects you against being dismissed or penalised for doing so.
You are protected as a whistleblower if you make a disclosure in the public interest (a Public Interest Disclosure) and you:
- are a 'worker';
- believe that malpractice in the workplace is happening, has happened in the
past or will happen in the future;
- reveal information of the right type (a 'qualifying disclosure'); &
- reveal it to the right person, and in the right way (making it a 'protected disclosure').
Read Blowing The Whistle At Work: Are You Protected? for more information.
What is unfair dismissal?
In the UK, dismissal can be unfair for a variety of reasons, i.e.:
- The employer lacks a fair reason for dismissing the employee;
- The employer fails to follow the correct dismissal process;
- The employer dismisses the employee for an automatically unfair reason.
Even though there is no length of service requirement for unfair dismissal involving whistleblowing, claimants must still comply with strict time limits to file a claim. Normally, a claim must be brought within three months of the last day of employment.
** Additional Information & Advice **
Depending on the circumstances of your case, however, it may be better to speak with a solicitor who specialises in employment law. You can be matched with a solicitor in your area for free via solicitor matching services, which can also help you to understand the best course of action for your situation and whether you are ready to hire a solicitor.