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Directors personally liable for whistleblowing dismissal and £2m compensation

Makbool Javaid

S. 47B of the Employment Rights Act 1996 makes an individual worker liable for subjecting a colleague to a detriment for whistleblowing, as well the employer being liable itself. In Timis and Sage v Osipov, two IPL directors, Timis (T) and Sage (S) summarily dismissed Osipov (O). An ET upheld O’s claim that: (i) he was unfairly dismissed for whistleblowing, having disclosed that T and S were involved in serious wrongdoing; and, (ii) T and S had subjected O to the detriment of dismissal contrary to S. 47B of the ERA 1996. The ET decided that T and S were jointly and severally liable, with IPL, for compensation totalling £1,744.575.56. The EAT upheld the ET’s decision, agreeing that both directors were personally liable to pay compensation, which was recalculated at £2,003,972.35. The Court of Appeal agreed with the EAT. An employee can bring a claim against an individual co-worker for being subjected to the detriment of dismissal and a claim based on such a distinct prior detrimental act done by a co-worker allows for recovery from that worker for losses flowing from the dismissal.

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