02 Sep Whistleblowing – public interest
The case of Okwu v Rise Community Action, confirms that, in accordance with the Employment Rights Act 1996, section 43B, the disclosure itself does not need to be in the Public Interest but the employee or worker must have a reasonable belief that the disclosure was in the public interest. In this case, the Claimant had alleged that the Respondent was acting in breach of the Data Protection Act by failing to provide the Claimant with her own mobile phone and with secure storage, when she was dealing with sensitive and confidential personal information. The question was not whether the disclosure was within the public interest which is what the Tribunal had incorrectly determined, but whether the Claimant has a reasonable belief that her disclosure was in the public interest. The Employment Appeal Tribunal remitted this back to the Employment Tribunal to determine the answer to this question.