In a recent article, we summarised the case of Chesterton Global Ltd & Anor v Nurmohamed, in which the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) considered what would amount to being in the public interest and concluded that a relatively small group of individuals may be sufficient to satisfy the public interest test.

Following hot on the heels from this judgment is the Employment Tribunal’s decision in Newman v Riverside Building Supplies in which it was determined that a complaint about a manager’s rudeness was not a protected disclosure. The Claimant alleged that the manager had said to a colleague “what the fuck are you looking at?” and called him a “tosser”. The claimant complained to the business owner, and later said that neither the owner nor the manager took his complaint seriously. This prompted a complaint from the Claimant which he later argued was not taken seriously by either the owner or the manager concerned. The Claimant left resigned shortly thereafter, lodging claims for automatically unfair dismissal and detriment for making a protected disclosure.

The Tribunal determined that the Claimant did not reasonably believe that he was making the disclosure ‘in the public interest’ and his claims were consequently struck out.

Adelle Hutton, HR Consultant at EML, comments….

“It is somewhat surprising that this claim survived the initial, sift given that it appears to have stood no reasonable prospect of success from the outset. That said, had the Claimant managed to convince the Tribunal that he reasonably believed his complaint to have been ‘in the public interest’ at the time he made it, it would have been interesting to learn whether or not the colleague on the receiving end of the alleged abuse would have constituted the ‘relatively small group’ that the EAT referred to in Chesterton Global Ltd & Anor v Nurmohamed.”

At Employee Management Ltd, our HR support consultants provide commercially minded employment law advice and bespoke HR services that can actively reduce your organisation’s exposure to litigation. We also offer a comprehensive employment tribunal representation service through which we can handle any claims you do receive. If you are an employer facing potential disciplinary issues which could result in dismissal, please feel free to contact us for a confidential, no-obligation discussion.