The claimant in Royal Mail Group Ltd v Jhuti, a probationary media specialist, made protected whistleblowing disclosures to her manager. The disclosures were around the issue of customer incentives – potentially serious regulatory breaches. The Tribunal found that she was deliberately subjected to bullying and harassment by her manager from the moment that she made the disclosures.
The manager manipulated the facts and, in particular, misled the person who ultimately dismissed the claimant for poor performance about the disclosures. The Tribunal dismissed her claim of automatic unfair dismissal, saying that the reason for the decision to dismiss was not the making of the protected disclosures; that motivation was the line manager's, not the decision-maker's.
The EAT allowed the appeal. Where a decision is made by someone in ignorance of the true facts and that decision is manipulated by a manager responsible for the claimant, who does have the true facts, the decision can be attributed to the employer of both of them. The manager's motivation has to be taken into account in those circumstances.
At first glance this decision contrasts with the approach taken in some recent discrimination cases, following CLFIS (UK) Ltd v Reynolds, where the Court of Appeal found that the tribunal in an age discrimination case had been correct to focus only on the mental processes of the decision-maker, although it was accepted that his decision was informed by the views of other employees. In Jhuti, however, the line manager had a key role in events, in terms of supervising the claimant and reporting on her performance, and the protected disclosures were made directly to him.