Fitzmaurice v Luton Irish Forum EA-2020-000295-RN

Appeal against the dismissal of a claim where the Claimant was alleging that she had suffered detriment as a result of making protected disclosures. Appeal allowed.

The ET held that the Claimant raised a number of concerns about health and safety issues in 2014 and, more extensively, in 2016 and 2017. The ET accepted that some constituted protected disclosures. In 2017, the Claimant also raised concerns during the course of a grievance hearing (predominantly about the Claimant’s pay), in respect of the Respondent’s use of its reserve funds to pay for a newly-recruited role. Further disclosures were found by the ET to have been made. Disciplinary proceedings were instigated against her. It was the Claimant’s case in the ET that the instigation and continuance of those disciplinary proceedings was done on the ground that she had made protected disclosures, that her treatment involved a fundamental breach of her employment contract, in response to which she had resigned, and so had been constructively dismissed. This gave rise to claims of ordinary unfair dismissal and automatically unfair dismissal. The Claimant contended that the reason or principal reason for her dismissal was the making of the protected disclosures. The ET dismissed her claims stating that there was no connection between the public interest disclosures found by the ET and the disciplinary procedures. The Claimant appealed.

The EAT allowed the appeal. The ET had erred in its approach to causation in the protected disclosure detriment claim and failed to properly analyse whether the making of the protected disclosures was properly severable from ancillary matters.

Published: 15/12/2021 17:37

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