Whistle-blowing policeman dismissed after becoming ‘unmanageable’

A police officer has lost an unfair dismissal claim after it was ruled that his conduct in making a legitimate complaint had resulted in him becoming “unmanageable”.

During his time with the police force, the officer made several complaints about the attitude towards victims of rape, child abuse and domestic violence that he witnessed in some of his colleagues.

The complaints were protected disclosures within the Employment Rights Act 1996.

While the officer’s complaints were mainly upheld, he remained unhappy with the way they were dealt with. He believed that punishments to the perpetrators didn’t go far enough.

He took up a lot of the management’s time with the issue and also spent a lot of time at home on sick leave.

He was eventually dismissed because of his association with his wife’s business, which senior officers said represented an “incompatible business interest”.

He brought an action against the force claiming that the complaints he had made were the principal reason for his dismissal. 

However, the tribunal held that his actions following the complaints would have exhausted the patience of any organisation. He had become unmanageable and that was why he had been dismissed.

The Court of Appeal has upheld that decision. It said that the officer wouldn’t accept any answer other than the one he felt appropriate following his complaints and had become unmanageable.

For further information, please contact us at employment@berrysmith.com