A requirement was added for whistleblowers that the disclosure be made in the public interest. This was added to prevent Claimant’s relying on complaints concerning their own contracts. The question remained however as to how wide the public interest requirement was.
The EAT held in Chestertons v Nurmohamed that the Claimant can have a reasonable belief is in the public interest if it relates to a contractual dispute affecting a group of staff. The EAT held that an individual contractual dispute would not normally satisfy the public interest following the amendments made in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 but that a disclosure concerning a relatively small group may satisfy the test, each case would turn on its own facts.
In this case the facts were that the Claimant was a director in the Mayfair office of Chestertons’ estate agency who said that he made a protected disclosure by complaining that the agency was overstating costs for its London office which drove down his bonus and that for 100 other senior managers. The employment tribunal found that the disclosure was made with a reasonable belief that it was ‘in the public interest’, and the Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld the decision.