Employment Cases Update

Williams v Brown UKEAT/0044/19/OO

Date published: 30/03/2020

Appeal against the ET’s decision rejecting the Claimant’s claim that he had been dismissed for making a protected disclosure. Appeal dismissed.

The Claimant was employed as a Senior Advisor by the Respondent, a member of the Welsh Assembly. Allegations were raised about the Claimant's conduct and he was suspended; he was subsequently dismissed for the given reason of conduct. The Claimant presented a claim that he had been subjected to detriment on the grounds of having made a protected disclosure (the detriment being his suspension) and unfairly dismissed for the reason or principal reason that he had a made a protected disclosure. The Claimant relied on one claimed protected disclosure, contained in a letter that he wrote to the Respondent, but the ET found that this was not a protected disclosure and dismissed his claim. The Claimant appealed on the ground that the ET had erred in its approach by considering separately the issue of the Claimant's reasonable belief and whether the disclosure tended to show a failure to comply with the legal obligation that the Claimant believed had been breached.

The EAT held that, while the ET's decision was not as clearly reasoned as it might have been, the ET had not asked itself the wrong legal question and had therefore correctly concluded that there was no protected disclosure. Further, the ET correctly applied the test of whether the claimed disclosure had sufficient factual content and specificity as to be capable of tending to show a criminal offence, and it set out a reasoned finding (which it was entitled to reach) that it did not meet that test.

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