Did an employment tribunal in a whistleblowing unfair dismissal claim have to give reasons as to why they discounted certain dates of knowledge, put forward in evidence by the decision-maker, in favour of one which fell after the date of the dismissal?

No, decided the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in the recent case of Fry v Kingswood.

The Claimant was made redundant by the Respondent at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. At the time of her dismissal, she did not have 2 years’ service with the Respondent so had no ordinary unfair dismissal rights. She alleged that her dismissal had been motivated by protected disclosures she had made regarding the conduct of her line manager (who had taken the decision to dismiss her).

In evidence before the tribunal, the line manager set out several inconsistent dates when he said he had become aware that the Claimant had made a protected disclosure about him. One of these dates was before dismissal and four were after it. The tribunal concluded that the line manager had become aware of the Claimant’s protected disclosure after her dismissal, when she submitted a grievance. As a result, her dismissal was not tainted by whistleblowing and her claim of automatic unfair dismissal failed.

The Claimant appealed, arguing that the tribunal had given an insufficient explanation as to why it had not chosen any of the other four dates of knowledge put forward by the Respondent, during the course of its (admittedly inconsistent) evidence. The EAT held that the tribunal’s decision should stand. Whilst the tribunal needed to give reasons for the date of knowledge, they had found they were not required to give reasons for the dates they did not find.