Martin v 1) London Borough of Southwark 2) The Governing Body of Evelina School: EA-2020-000432-JOJ

Appeal against finding that the claimant had not made qualifying disclosures concerning working hours.

The claimant taught at Evelina Hospital School and was concerned that teachers, including himself, were working in excess of “statutory directed time”. The ET analysed a series of emails sent by the claimant to the Head Teacher concerning this matter and concluded that the disclosure was not a qualifying one as it was not in the public interest.

HHJ Tayler rejects their reasoning as the ET had not sufficiently analysed whether the claimant reasonably believed it was in the public interest and whether that belief was reasonable. At [27] he also adds that

“the Tribunal focused on the motive of the claimant for making the disclosure, rather than considering whether there had been a relevant disclosure of information and, if so, whether the claimant reasonably believed that making the disclosure was in the public interest and reasonably believed that it tended to show that there was a breach of a legal obligation. The claimant could reasonably believe that the disclosure was made in the public interest even if his motive for making the disclosure was predominantly to advance his interest in not being required to work excessive hours.”

He also notes that the Tribunal appeared to consider that where information was already before the respondent there could not be a further disclosure of information to it, an approach that disregards the provisions of section 43H ERA which makes it clear that a disclosure can be a disclosure of information even when made to a person that already knows the information. He therefore allowed the appeal and remitted it to a freshly constituted employment tribunal.

Published: 04/10/2021 10:16

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