NHS whistleblower should receive more from Shropshire hospitals trust over unlawful sacking, says court
An NHS whistleblower, awarded more than £50,000 damages after being unlawfully sacked by from Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust, could be in line for an even bigger payout after an Appeal Court ruling.
Leslie Small, 61, worked as a project manager in the estates department of SaTH until July 2012.
His appointment was temporary, and on a self-employed basis, and Mr Small was only there for three months before his job was "terminated".
He said that was because of his unsuccessful efforts to persuade the trust to notify previous occupiers of a group of properties that it owned that they might have been exposed to asbestos.
In 2013, an employment tribunal found that he had been subjected to an unlawful detriment for whistle-blowing and upheld his claim.
He was awarded compensation totalling £54,126, made up of £15,150 for injury to feelings, £5,000 in aggravated damages and £33,976 for lost earnings.
Now, however, the Court of Appeal in London has raised the prospect of his loss of earnings payout being substantially increased.
Two senior judges ruled that he was entitled to be compensated for any "stigma" that his sacking caused to his future career.
Mr Small claimed that, when he took up his part-time role, he had been given to understand that his position might be made permanent.
But, after he was dismissed, the trust had refused to give him a reference, even after he offered to drop his complaint to the tribunal.
Since leaving the trust, Mr Small said he had carried out a desperate hunt for suitable work but almost 580 job applications had proved fruitless.
Lord Justice Underhill said that those who suffer disadvantage on the labour market due to their unlawful dismissal are in principle entitled to compensation.
He added that the tribunal had been "rightly very critical" of the "most regrettable act of victimisation" that Mr Small had suffered.
The consequences of losing his job, and not having a reference, "appeared to be career-ending", he added.
The judge, sitting with Lord Justice Lloyd Jones, sent Mr Small's case back to the tribunal to reconsider the amount of his compensation.
But, describing it as a "very long-running case", the judge urged Mr Small and the trust to attempt to reach "a reasonable compromise".