Whistleblowing: Healthcare worker awarded £127,000 in unfair dismissal case

A nurse has been awarded £127,000 by an employment tribunal in an unfair dismissal case.

Andrew Smith was dismissed in 2015 by Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust following accusations of ‘malicious’ allegations by the Trust, which stated that he had been disruptive and had emailed sensitive information to his personal email account.

The employment tribunal ruled that Smith had been dismissed as a result of several protected disclosures that he had made about the treatment of staff, which meant that he was covered by whistleblowing law.

Mr Smith made the complaints in relation to claims that staff were being bullied by managers, as well as not being given enough rest under the Working Time Regulations.

Following these complaints, in addition to a period of time off work, Mr Smith was informed that he must meet with the Head of Nursing at the Trust, Ms Foster, in addition to an HR representative.

Disciplinary proceedings were brought against Smith following this meeting, and he was subsequently suspended from work, and then dismissed in July 2015.

Judge Warren said: “The dismissal and appeal officers were very much aware of the protected disclosures and what a nuisance those disclosures had been, which is not to say the reason was the nuisance factor, it means as a whistleblower, he was a nuisance, and so they dismissed him because he was a whistleblower, because of the protected disclosures.”

The employment tribunal has awarded Mr Smith £127,390 in compensation, which is comprised of a basic award, compensatory award and compensation for injury to feeling and loss of pension.

David Scott, Senior Associate Solicitor at Hethertons Solicitors, said: “I would always recommend that business have a whistleblowing policy to ensure that complaints that might be ‘whistleblowing’ can be identified at an early stage and appropriate action can be taken to resolve the concerns and avoid potential issues going forward.”

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