Employment Cases Update

Okwu v Rise Community Action UKEAT/0082/19/OO

Date published: 06/09/2019

Appeal against the ET’s dismissal of the Claimant’s claim of automatic unfair dismissal for having made a protected disclosure. Appeal allowed in part.

The Claimant completed three months' work for the Respondent, and was told that her probationary period would be extended for a further three months to enable the Respondent to assess her suitability. Shortly after the end of the initial three months, the Claimant was dismissed for reasons including unsatisfactory work performance and unacceptable conduct, and she brought proceedings in the ET, claiming that, amongst other things, she had been unfairly dismissed for making protective disclosures under s 43B Employment Rights Act 1996 ("ERA"). The ET rejected the Claimant's claim of automatic unfair dismissal. The Claimant appealed on the grounds that (1) the ET had erred in its approach to the question whether the Claimant had made a protected disclosure, (2) the ET had further erred in failing to make a clear finding as to the reason for the Claimant's dismissal and/or to explain its reasons, and (3) the hearing was conducted in a procedurally unfair manner.

The EAT held that (1) the ET had failed to determine whether the disclosure of information, in the Claimant's reasonable belief, was made in the public interest and tended to show one of the things listed at s 43B ERA, and (2) the ET had failed to reach a clear conclusion on the question of reason and/or failed to provide adequate explanation for the rejection of her claim; as to the third ground of appeal, it would be dismissed on each of the points raised. Accordingly, the question of protective disclosure and of the reason for the Claimant's dismissal would be remitted to the same ET.

Read the full text of the judgment on BAILII or download the file by clicking the link below.