Austerity whistleblower wins Supreme Court case to be granted employment rights

District Judge, Claire Gilham, has won a Supreme Court case over the interpretation of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA), allowing her to take her whistleblowing case to tribunal.

18 Oct 2019| News

All five Supreme Court justices ruled unanimously that her case can proceed – a right previously denied to her when the Ministry of Justice argued in the Court of Appeal that her status as an ‘office-holder’ rather than a ‘worker’ precluded her from protection against whistleblowing.

The relevant section of the ERA says: “A worker has the right not to be subjected to any detriment by any act, or any deliberate failure to act, by his employer, done on the ground that the worker has made a protected disclosure.”

But the Supreme Court disagreed that this meant judges and other public leaders have no protection under the law.

“I can reach no other conclusion than that the Employment Rights Act should be read and given effect so as to extend its whistleblowing protection to the holders of judicial office,” Supreme Court President Lady Hale explained in giving her ruling.

Judge Gilham claims she suffered harassment at work after she blew the whistle on the damage wrought the justice system by austerity measures, including unsafe working conditions and excessive workloads.