Dorrington v Tower Hamlets GP Care Group CIC UKEAT/0308/19/BA

Appeal against the ET’s dismissal of the Claimant’s whistleblowing claim. Appeal allowed.

The Claimant was employed by the Respondent from 2010 until her dismissal in 2018, subject to a break in continuity of employment in 2016. She brought a claim in the ET for unfair dismissal but did not give a specific legal basis for the claim although, in an addendum to her claim, she stated that her claim was based on whistleblowing. The Respondent contended that the Claimant did not have the two years' continuous service needed to present an ordinary unfair dismissal claim; at a preliminary hearing, the ET agreed and ordered a second preliminary hearing to consider whether there was an alternative claim of automatically unfair dismissal based on whistleblowing. At the second preliminary hearing, the ET treated the matter as an application to amend the claim form, and dismissed the application on the basis that (1) the amendment was a new cause of action which had not been pleaded, and (2) the case had always been treated by the ET as an unfair dismissal claim and not as a protected interest disclosure claim. The Claimant appealed, contending that the ET failed to appreciate that her claim was always identified as a claim, at least in part, of whistleblowing.

The EAT held that the ET had erred in failing to appreciate that the Claimant already had a claim form alleging unfair dismissal, and that the true subject matter of the second preliminary hearing was a lack of particularisation of the claim. As to time limits, the unfair dismissal claim had been made in time, and the defect was one of particularisation, so there was an in-time claim based on alleged protected disclosures. Accordingly, a further case management hearing in the ET would be listed.

Published: 13/01/2021 16:22