Whistleblower must reasonably believe allegations are true
In Muchesa v Central & Cecil Housing Care Support Ltd, Miss Muchesa made allegations to the daughter of a resident, the police and social services about what she alleged were unsatisfactory standards at the care home. CCHCS suspended her for misconduct and in due course dismissed her. Meanwhile, she made further allegations to the Council for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) which inspected the home and found that all allegations were unfounded.
The EAT agreed with the tribunal that the disclosures were not made in good faith and that the evidence demonstrated that Miss Muchesa had not “reasonably believed” the information disclosed to be “substantially true”, both of which are requirements for statutory protection for whistleblowing to apply.
The EAT held that the tribunal were entitled to consider whether the complaints were in fact true and use their conclusions as an important tool to the resolution of whether the claimant had a reasonable belief that this was so. The matters of which Miss Muchesa had complained were matters of which she claimed to have direct personal knowledge and the truth of her allegations would naturally appear to be of greater weight than if this was a case of second-hand information.
In such circumstances, the tribunal was entitled to ask itself whether the actions or inactions of Miss Muchesa pointed not only towards the truth of her complaints but also to whether she genuinely believed in that truth. They determined that her actions and inactions were strongly inconsistent with such a belief as she had not behaved in the manner in which she would have behaved had she reasonably believed in the truth of the complaints and as someone would have done had they been motivated by a genuine desire to protect the residents.