During the winter of 2010, Mr Shaw sent a series of two emails to the Health and Safety Manager and a further email to HR concerning the dangerous driving conditions in the snowy conditions. Mr Shaw managed a team who travelled to customers around the Country and was looking for guidance on how best to fulfil the companies responsibilities to the staff but maintain productivity. He subsequently brought a claim that he had suffered a detriment after he sent these emails making what he said were protected disclosures. The preliminary issue before the Tribunal in Norbrook Laboratories (GB) Ltd v Shaw was whether or not he was a protected whistleblower.
The issue was whether those three emails notwithstanding the fact that they were sent to different people could amount to a protected disclosure as a whole. Two or more communications can (depending on the facts) amount to a protected disclosure. An earlier communication can be taken to be embedded in a later one which is a qualifying disclosure according to Goode v Marks and Spencer Plc. In this case, it did not matter that the recipients were different as the email to HR made specific reference to the earlier correspondence sent to Health and Safety. Drawing attention to the dangers of driving in the snow was not just the expression of an opinion but was a communication of information and his communications were therefore a disclosure for the purposes of the Act. The case will now be heard on its merits.