News and Events

Whistleblowing and Interim Relief in Covid times

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We are seeing a big increase in interim relief applications, mainly flowing from two areas:

First, there are a lot of cases of alleged furlough fraud – cases where an employee has asserted that an employer has made false claims under the Job Retention Scheme. On 8 September 2020 the government said that around £3.5bn paid out under the Job Retention Scheme has been paid out in error or in response to fraudulent claims. Employees might ‘blow the whistle’ because they are aware of such claims, or because they have been told to work but at the same time they are aware that a claim has been made for money from the Job Retention Scheme with reference to their employment.

Secondly, there is the potential for claims relating to breaches of health and safety.  These are the ones I’m tending to see at the moment.  Employees can argue that they alleged there was a risk to health & safety because of non-Covid secure conditions at work, and if they are dismissed as a result of raising that complaint, it’s a dismissal on grounds of whistleblowing which entitles them to seek interim relief.

There aren’t any figures available yet, but from a personal perspective I had done fewer than ten interim relief cases in the 20 years leading up to this year, and I’ve been instructed in half a dozen in just the last few months.  It’s something that all lawyers need to know about, and something that all HR Professionals need to warn their Boards is a risk of dismissing someone for raising health & safety issues.

This is just one of the topics I'm talking about in my Autumn Report on Tuesday.  You'll get a full workbook (here's a sample), and the session is recorded and transcribed so you can catch up afterwards. Register here...

Here's what it covers...

Topic 1: Rishi Sunak's Job Support Scheme

  • which employers and employees qualify?
  • what are the rules of the scheme for businesses closed due to lockdown?
  • what are the rules of the scheme for businesses not closed due to lockdown?
  • how does it differ from the furlough scheme?
  • what happens if there is not enough work for the employee?
  • what if the employee cannot work due to ill health (including Covid)?

Topic 2:  More Coronavirus Stuff

  • the job retention bonus
  • the new criminal offence of allowing your self-isolating workers to come to work
  • the litigator's sledgehammer: interim relief

Topic 3:  Health & Safety Detriments / Dismissals in the time of Coronavirus

  • sections 44 and 100 of the Employment Rights Act 1996
  • what is meant by 'serious' and 'imminent' danger to health?
  • is commuting to work covered?
  • are employees entitled to be paid if staying at home under s44?
  • how employers should deal with employees who refuse to come into work - the practical answer

Topic 4:  Three Big Caselaw Developments from the last three months

  • Constructive dismissal (Phoenix Academy Trust v Kilroy)
  • Personality clash dismissals (Gallacher v Abellio Scotrail)
  • Changing contract terms after a TUPE transfer (Fergusen v Astrea Asset Management)

Registration costs £45+VAT per person (free to members of the HR Inner Circle), and each delegate will receive a bespoke .pdf workbook, access to the live webinar, and an 'on demand' recording afterwards.  It's taking place this coming Tuesday, 20 October 2020 at 10am, and will last about two hours.

You can register here.