Turning the tables on the whistle-blower

The client

A small business with 12 employees, they provide bereavement and counselling support and have been established for 30 years. Their values mean that employees are trusted and the working environment has always been informal and friendly.

The challenge

The longest serving employee made a string of allegations stating that the business had been involved in malpractice for many years. These allegations were presented as a grievance and came about after a number of minor problems and arguments between the employee and the management.

The Directors were horrified and felt that a trusted employee had turned on them and was now demanding £70,000 in settlement to exit the business. Lotus Human Resource was recommended by the company’s external accountant to handle the whistle-blowing situation.

The solution

The Lotus team put the business under the microscope over several weeks and the grievance was thoroughly investigated. This involved interviewing all key members of staff and exploring all the evidence.

While this investigation was in progress the employee lodged a claim with the Employment Tribunal for unfair treatment arising from the whistle-blowing allegations. This created an additional issue to manage alongside the ongoing investigation.

Lotus HR worked with an employment lawyer preparing all the
correspondence and evidence with advice from our legal colleagues.

The outcome

No evidence of malpractice was found. The employee became the subject of a disciplinary case.The Tribunal claim was withdrawn and a nominal severance package given in settlement. Although our advice was to dismiss for gross misconduct without notice, the client felt this was not in line with their values.The client made a direct saving of £50,000 and preserved their reputation.