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Non-Executive Directors Personally Liable for £1.75m Whistleblowing Claim

on Friday, 28 July 2017.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) found that an employee can pursue a claim and seek a remedy against a fellow employee for a whistleblowing detriment...

...amounting to dismissal in the recent case of International Petroleum Ltd v Osipov.


The EAT, upholding the original decision of the Employment Tribunal, found that the CEO of International Petroleum Ltd (IP Ltd) had been unfairly dismissed for making a series of protected disclosures relating to the actions of IP Ltd during his time as CEO. Subsequently, the EAT found that two non-executive directors of IP Ltd, who were both heavily involved in the decision to dismiss the CEO, were jointly and severally liable with the company for any losses which flowed from the dismissal. The losses in this case amounted to almost £1.75m.

Best Practice

This case provides a stark reminder that directors of a company and fellow employees can be held personally or jointly and severally liable for any losses which arise as a result of a decision to dismiss an employee, where the dismissal is deemed to be on account of protected disclosures and is therefore, automatically unfair. In certain instances, where the dismissal involves a senior employee or a highly paid worker, the amount of losses may be considerable.

It is clear from the EAT's decision that in the unlikely event that an employee wishes to pursue a claim and seek a remedy against a fellow employee for a whistleblowing detriment amounting to dismissal, rather than pursuing the claim against the employer, there is nothing to prevent this from happening.

For more information, please contact Michael Halsey in the Employment Law team on 020 7665 0842.

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