Cavendish Munro Professional Risks Management Ltd v Geduld
Mr Geduld was a director, shareholder and employee of Cavendish. By late 2007 the relationship between Mr Geduld and Cavendish was acrimonious and he met with two directors in January 2008 to discuss the future of the company and a possible buyout of shares. No agreement was reached and his solicitors wrote a letter on his behalf to Cavendish alleging unfair prejudice to their client as a shareholder by the alleged actions of the company’s accountant regarding the purported valuation of his shares. On receipt of this letter, Mr Geduld was dismissed.
He brought a claim for unfair dismissal on the basis that he had been discriminated against as a direct result of the letter which contained a qualifying disclosure as it referred to legal obligations with which the other directors had failed to comply. The Tribunal agreed and Cavendish appealed. The EAT upheld the appeal. The solicitor’s letter which set out the objections to the way in which he had been treated and complaints that he had suffered unfair prejudice as a shareholder, did not amount to a protected disclosure. It was simply a statement of the employee’s position which was designed to bring about a settlement in relation to the termination of his employment. Mr Geduld had not been unfairly dismissed. Key point: The letter was part of an ongoing dispute and there was no protected disclosure but not every letter will have the same status.