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Defamation may not be a public interest disclosure qualifying for protection

Makbool Javaid

In Ibrahim v HCA International Ltd, an ET struck out I’s claim of detriment because of whistleblowing after he had disclosed that he had been the subject of false rumours and been treated badly by a colleague. The ET decided the disclosures were not made in the public interest but made with a view to I clearing his name. But the Court of Appeal found the ET had erred in its approach. It had dealt purely with I’s motive but not with whether I had a subjective belief that the disclosures were in the public interest and whether such belief was reasonable. However, the real point of practical interest is the CA’s observation that while the EAT had found that ‘defamation’ was capable of coming within the list of disclosures qualifying for protection under S.43B(1)(b) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 that decision remains open to challenge in the CA as it seems counter-intuitive to describe a complaint to management that someone is spreading false rumours as being in the public interest.

The updates are kindly provided by Simons Muirhead & Burton Law firm

This update provides summary information and comment on the subject areas covered. Where employment tribunal and appellate court cases are reported, the information does not set out all of the facts, the legal arguments presented and help judgments made in every aspect of the case. Click on the links to access full details. If no link is provided, contact us for more information.  Employment law is subject to constant change either by statute or by interpretation by the courts. While every care has been taken in compiling this information, SM&B cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Specialist legal advice must be taken on any legal issues that may arise before embarking upon any formal course of action.

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