Search

How can we help?

Icon

Lack of knowledge of employee’s protected disclosures did not prevent a finding of automatic unfair dismissal

In the recent case of Royal Mail Group Limited v Jhuti, the Employment Appeal Tribunal decided that an employee had been automatically unfairly dismissed even though the manager responsible for the decision had been unaware of her protected disclosures.

After only 4 weeks of employment, Ms Jhuti became suspicious that her colleague had breached Royal Mail’s policies and Ofcom requirements.  She informed the team leader and was advised to admit she had been mistaken and to retract her allegations.  Fearing for her job, she did just that.  She was subsequently given an “ever changing unattainable list of requirements” and was put on a performance management plan.  Ms Jhuti complained to HR that she was being harassed and bullied as a result of her disclosures, but this was not dealt with properly.

A different manager was then appointed to review Ms Jhuti’s performance.  She was not given copies of Ms Jhuti’s emails containing the disclosures but became aware that she had been upset about something.  When asked, the team leader told the manager that Ms Jhuti had complained about improper conduct at Royal Mail but had subsequently retracted her allegations.  The manager did not meet with Ms Jhuti (as she was unwell) and took the information from the team leader at face value.  Ms Jhuti was dismissed for poor performance.

The Employment Tribunal found that Ms Jhuti had made protected disclosures and had been subjected to detriments.  However, it decided that she had not been automatically unfairly dismissed because the decision was not based on someone else’s motivation.  The manager had been unaware of Ms Jhuti’s disclosures and genuinely believed she was a poor performer.  On appeal however, the EAT took a different approach, noting that the team leader had intentionally misled the manager about Ms Jhuti’s disclosures. The EAT considered it was imperative that the team leader’s reason and motivation should be taken into account and concluded that it was inevitable that Royal Mail would be found to have dismissed Ms Jhuti because she had made protected disclosures.

Monica Atwal

Managing Partner

View profile

+44 118 960 4605

Chambers and Partners

The Clarkslegal team are commercial and good to work with. They get what our business needs and tell me what I need to hear.

It remains to be seen whether an employer would be held liable if the manipulation is done by someone in a non-managerial position who is not responsible for the employee.

For further information or support with unfair dismissal or protected disclosures, please contact our specialist employment lawyers on employment@clarkslegal.com

Employmentbuddy.com 

About this article

Disclaimer

This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

Monica Atwal

Managing Partner

View profile

+44 118 960 4605

About this article

Read, listen and watch our latest insights

art
  • 28 February 2024
  • Commercial Real Estate

Hidden risks in serviced office agreements

This is usually a fully furnished and equipped office space that is managed by a facility management company and made available for short-term or long-term rentals to businesses, varying from one week to a year, or even longer.

art
  • 27 February 2024
  • Employment

Changing Attitudes to Menopause

We have set out some answers to the frequently asked questions that employers ask when considering how to support a menopausal employee.

art
  • 22 February 2024
  • Employment

Time to take the heat off menopausal women

On 22 February 2024, the EHRC released guidance and resources for employers designed to help employers understand their legal obligations in relation to supporting workers experiencing menopausal symptoms.

Pub
  • 22 February 2024
  • Employment

Talking Employment Law: What to do if you’re at risk of redundancy

In this podcast, Harry Berryman and Rebecca Dowle, members of the employment team, will talk through the steps that need to be taken for a redundancy to be fair and the range of criteria that can be used when determining which employees will be made redundant.

art
  • 21 February 2024
  • Immigration

FAQs Partner Visa UK

Discover the UK Spouse Visa: eligibility, finances, relationship criteria, and the latest updates in 2024 for a successful application.

art
  • 19 February 2024
  • Privacy and Data Protection

The role of Data Protection Officers in ensuring compliance

How many of us receive marketing calls for products and services we did not sign up for?