In Parson v Airplus International Ltd the EAT decided that a disclosure would not be protected if the worker involved did not believe it was made in the public interest but instead made them only with her own self-interest in mind.
The Claimant, Ms Parsons, who was a qualified non-practising barrister had made a number of disclosures to her employer. Shortly after making the disclosures she was dismissed. Ms Parsons argued that the disclosures qualified for protection and therefore made her dismissal automatically unfair for whistleblowing.
However, both the tribunal and the EAT found that the disclosures had only been made in Ms Parsons’ own self-interest and although some disclosures can be found to be both in the worker’s self-interest and in the public interest and would, therefore be protected, these disclosures did not fit that category. The EAT did, however, acknowledge that the tribunal had erred when finding that a disclosure of information of which the employer was already aware could not qualify for protection, this is not the case. This finding would make no difference, however, to the unfair dismissal claim as the EAT accepted that the reason for dismissal was the Claimant’s conduct and not the making of disclosures and that the timing was purely coincidental.