The EAT has confirmed that employees seeking to establish whistleblowing protection can rely on multiple communications taken together to establish a ‘qualifying disclosure’ (even if individually they would not qualify). This is so even where the communications are to different recipients, provided the final recipient is aware of the earlier communications.
A manager’s emails highlighting his concerns about employees driving in dangerous weather conditions could amount to a qualifying disclosure about health and safety, despite being expressed in three emails to two different recipients. Although each email wasn’t sufficient on its own, the last email referred back to the earlier communications and made clear their content, and therefore the earlier emails could be viewed as “embedded” in the later one.
The position might be different if the recipient of the final email could reasonably have been unaware of the earlier ones. (Norbrook Laboratories Ltd (GB) v Shaw, EAT)