A police inspector has won his Employment Tribunal case after he asserted that he was “victimised” because of a report that he produced.
Mr Brian Casson, a police inspector in the Metropolitan Police, was assigned to investigate the death of Kestor David in 2010. Mr Kestor’s body was found under railway arches in north London in July 2010. Mr Kestor’s family believed that police officers failed to take Mr Kestor’s case seriously because he was black and suspect that Mr Kestor may have been murdered. Inspector Casson alleged that pressure had been placed upon him by the Metropolitan Police to state in his report that Mr Kestor had committed suicide. He refused to do this and specified in his report that insufficient investigations had been taken into Mr Kestor’s case, including a failure to check available CCTV footage, obtain relevant evidence from mobile telephones, and speak to witnesses. Inspector Casson’s report was later leaked to the media – although he was found not to have been the source of the leak – and he was later charged with misconduct on an unrelated charge. He subsequently submitted an Employment Tribunal claim for whistleblowing (detriment due to a protected disclosure) and the Employment Tribunal found in his favour.
Subjecting an employee or a worker to a detriment because they’ve made a protected disclosure – also known as “whistleblowing” is unlawful under the Employment Rights Act 1996 (“ERA 1996”). Under the ERA 1996 an employee must have made a “qualifying disclosure” (the disclosure of information which shows that a criminal offence, a failure to comply with a legal obligation, a miscarriage of justice, that the health and safety of an individual is likely to be endangered, or the environment damaged has happened, is happening or is likely to happen) to an appropriate person in good faith in order to receive protection. If the employee has made a valid protected disclosure then they are entitled not to be subjected to a detriment or dismissed because they’ve disclosed the information. If the employee is subjected to such a detriment or is fired then they are entitled to make an Employment Tribunal claim to win compensation for this (and potentially be reinstated to their position if they’ve been dismissed).
In order to reduce the risk of whistleblowing claims employer should implement a few basic procedures, including:
- Setting up a whistleblowing police to set out procedures that should be followed
- Investigate protected disclosures promptly and keep the whistleblower (if possible) informed
It recently came to light that Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe has reopened the investigation into Mr Kestor’s death and will send a team to the United States to interview witnesses and gather further information.
Commenting after the Employment Tribunal’s decision, Mr Roger Casson (Inspector Casson’s brother) stated that “the truth must come out”. The Metropolitan Police apparently declined to comment, save that it would be awaiting a “full written judgment”.