If a member of an LLP withdraws his labour due to whistleblowing victimisation, and is expelled from the partnership as a result, can he claim compensation for the resultant loss?
Yes, held the Court of Appeal in Wilsons Solicitors LLP v Roberts.
The Claimant, a solicitor, brought a claim for whistleblowing against the Limited Liability Partnership of which he had been a member, claiming victimisation and constructive termination.
The claim for constructive termination was struck out by the tribunal as having no reasonable prospect of success, since there is no concept of 'constructive termination' for LLPs which would be equivalent to constructive dismissal, so (the tribunal said) the Claimant could not recover compensation for loss flowing from the expulsion.
The EAT allowed the Claimant’s appeal, and the Court of Appeal upheld it. The Claimant could claim compensation for post-termination financial losses despite being lawfully expelled, provided he could demonstrate that those losses were attributable to pre-termination unlawful detrimental treatment. That was a question of fact, not law. Whistleblowing compensation is 'just and equitable', strict principles of causation do not apply. The claim should not have been struck out.
Thanks to Ezra Macdonald of Pump Court Chambers for preparing this case summary.