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25/07/2002

ALM Medical Services Ltd v. Bladon

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Court of Appeal

An employment tribunal had erred in a protected disclosure case by refusing to admit all the relevant evidence.

Employer's ('ALM') appeal from an employment appeal tribunal's decision not to allow ALM's appeal from the employment tribunal to proceed to a full hearing on the ground that it had no reasonable prospect of success. The employment tribunal held that the respondent employee ('B') had been dismissed as a consequence of making a protected disclosure under Part IVA Employment Rights Act 1996 by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. B was employed by ALM in its nursing homes business in June 1999. In August he expressed concerns about a number of matters relating to patient care to the Managing Director's personal assistant. B also spoke to the Nursing Home Inspectorate who carried out an investigation and wrote to ALM on 8 September. B was given a written warning on 10 September and summarily dismissed on 16 September. The tribunal chairman refused to hear some of ALM's witnesses on the ground that they were irrelevant. ALM submitted in its appeal that: (i) that evidence should not have been excluded because it would help to establish whether B had in fact made a protected disclosure and ALM's case as to the reason for B's dismissal; and (ii) the tribunal chairman should have disbarred himself from the proceedings because of his former connection with B's trade union.

HELD: (1) The tribunal's approach to ALM's evidence was plainly wrong. The tribunal was under a duty to hear and consider all relevant evidence. The evidence of all three ALM witnesses were relevant to the issues of B's good faith, reasonableness of external disclosure and reason for dismissal. (2) In view of the first reason it was unnecessary to express a view as to the alleged failure of the chairman to declare his earlier association with the trade union.
Appeal allowed and case remitted to a fresh tribunal.

 

[2002] EWCA Civ 1085,[2002] ICR 1444

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