In welcome news for employers, the EAT has ruled in Sullivan v Isle of White Council that external job applicants cannot bring a whistleblowing detriment claim against a prospective employer (other than the NHS, which is expressly covered to protect patient safety).

The claimant had sought to argue that the European Convention of Human Rights’ prohibition on discrimination because of ‘status’ could be used to extend whistleblowing protection to external job applicants in the same way as the Supreme Court had used it to protect office-holders in Gilham v Ministry of Justice (on the basis that their status is analogous to that of ‘workers’ – see further here).

The EAT rejected this argument, ruling that external job applicants are not analogous to internal job applicants (who will be existing workers and have whistleblowing protection as such), nor to NHS job applicants (given the particular patient safety concern). It would require legislative amendment by parliament to extend protection to external job applicants.

Anna Henderson
Anna Henderson
Professional Support Consultant, London