No Scope for loosening Territorial Scope for Whistleblowing Claims

In Smania v Standard Chartered Bank UKEAT/0181/14, Mr Smania, an Italian banker, worked in Singapore; his employment was subject to Singaporean law and his only connection to the UK was that his employer’s headquarters were there.

Mr Smania attempted to bring whistleblowing claims in the UK as he believed that he had suffered detriment and/or been dismissed as a result of his alleged disclosures.
The Employment Appeals Tribunal held that the Employment Tribunal did not have jurisdiction with regards to this whistleblowing claim as there was insufficient connection to the UK and no basis for applying a looser test because of the fact that this was a whistleblowing case. Arguments that there was scope to interpret the whistleblowing legislation through the EU right to freedom of expression and the right to be heard, were rejected.

It would seem that when it comes to whistleblowing claims, the tribunal is unlikely to depart from the territorial jurisdictional test applied to unfair dismissal claims unless there is a reasoned basis to justify any departure.

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