Protection extends to whistleblowing on non-employer failings
In Hibbins v Hesters Way Neighbourhood Project the EAT overturned a tribunal’s decision that the whistleblowing legislation only provides protection where the disclosure relates to malpractice by the individual’s employer. The EAT held that the legislation may also protect disclosure relating to malpractice by a body other than the individual’s employer.
Ms Hibbins was employed as a teacher by Network. While employed by Network, she worked one day a week on secondment to Hesters Way Neighbourhood Project on its premises. She provided the police with information about an individual who had applied to join a course run by Hesters, having identified him as a suspect in a rape case. In a discussion with Hesters during which she told them what she had done, she became very upset. She subsequently raised a complaint to Network, and then resigned. The tribunal rejected her whistleblowing claim as the disclosure did not reveal any failure by her employer, Network.
The EAT overturned the tribunal’s decision rejecting Hester’s argument that individuals were not protected where the malpractice was by a body other than their employer. There is no authority which supported this view. It agreed with Ms Hibbins that a protected disclosure may relate to failings by someone other than the employer, and therefore upheld the appeal.
This decision makes it clear that protection also extends to failings by those other than the employer even though this is not specifically stated in the legislation.