Court of Appeal Extends Whistleblowing Protection

5th May 2017

The Court of Appeal has today allowed an appeal taken by junior doctor, Chris Day, allowing him to proceed with a whistleblowing claim against the national training body Health Education England (HEE). The Court of Appeal has effectively confirmed that there can be more than one relevant employer under the whistleblowing law, the Public Interest Disclosure Act.

Cathy James, Chief Executive of Public Concern at Work said:
"I would like to congratulate Chris Day on what is an amazing achievement both personally and for his fellow professionals, but also a major positive shift in the protection afforded to whistleblowers across all industries. We have always said that effective protection for whistleblowers will result in more concerns about wrongdoing, risk or malpractice being effectively raised and ultimately a safer, better and fairer society. Dr Day’s victory today is a victory for all of us.

Public Concern at Work was very concerned that if the ruling from the lower courts had been upheld, whistleblowing protection in situations far beyond Dr Day’s would have been significantly compromised. It was for this reason that we decided to intervene in the Court of Appeal and we are pleased that our submissions proved valuable to the court.

The judgment makes crystal clear that action against a whistleblower can sometimes take place by those outside the primary employment relationship and that outside bodies can have a huge influence over the terms of any worker's employment. This goes beyond the specific terms of the employment contract. Taking this new principled approach to the law, the Employment Tribunal can now go on to consider the exact nature of Dr Day’s relationship with HEE and the circumstances that followed his raising of patient safety concerns in Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

I would also like to congratulate the team here at PCaW and specifically Bob Matheson our policy officer, as well as the team at CM Murray and our barrister Thomas Linden QC – without whom we wouldn’t have been able to assist the Court of Appeal in determining this landmark judgment."

Find the judgement here.