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ET awards £127,000 to nurse dismissed for whistleblowing

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

In Smith v Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust, S was employed as an Anaesthetics Nurse. He was also a steward for the Royal College of Nursing. S made a number of protected disclosures, including patient care issues, staff being harassed and bullied, inadequate rest breaks and a lack of equipment and supplies. Colleagues made him aware that management might be engaging in a witch hunt against him by gathering evidence about his conduct. S was suspended for alleged disruptive behaviour and following disciplinary proceedings he was dismissed for gross misconduct because there had been a complete breakdown in the employment relationship.  An ET found that S was a campaigner and effective trade union representative and had been viewed as a nuisance and source of irritation by his line managers. The ET further found that the managers involved in the dismissal and appeal decisions had been aware of what a nuisance S had been, but this had not been the reason for dismissal. S  was dismissed because he was a whistleblower, as evidenced by the witch hunt against him, a flawed investigation report, the weakness and lack of merit in the disciplinary charges, and It was not at all clear that the employment relationship had irretrievably broken down. The ET awarded S £127,389.

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