The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 provides protection to employees who blow the whistle on their employers by disclosing information including, for example, information relating to crime or misconduct.
If an employee is dismissed because of such a protected disclosure, the dismissal is automatically unfair.
· In this case, the employee suspected that the employer’s computer system might breach the Data Protection Act 1998.
· The employee carried out an unauthorised “test” of the system by hacking into the computer network and encrypting and decoding passwords. He then informed the company of his actions.
· The employer took disciplinary action against the employee for hacking. He resigned after a disciplinary hearing and claimed constructive unfair dismissal.
· The Court found that the employee had been disciplined for hacking into the company system and not for telling the company about it.
· The Court also rejected the submission that the employee’s entire course of conduct (including the hacking) was an act of disclosure.
Bolton -v- Evans