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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45339
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I work at council and my colleague and I are involved

Customer Question

I work at for a council and my colleague and I are involved in a whistle blowing case. We have taken out a grievance against our employer due to the way they have treated us in the case. At a third appeal hearing yesterday in from of Councillors it came out that they have concealed vital evidence to our case. What action can we now take?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Who has concealed evidence and what type of evidence was it?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
This case involved a waste carrier removing waste in council contracts and illegally disposing of this waste. The Environment Agency investigated this matter after we reported the details to the council who did nothing about this. A report was sent by the EA to the council in April 2015 which confirmed that this had happened and means the council and council officers have committed offences under Environmental Health Act 1990 (S34).
The facts of this section of the EA report have been denied by the council in writing and in conversations with them until yesterday when it came out they have been concealing these facts since the EA report arrived.
The council officers who have read this report are Chief Executive, Divisional Directors and Assistant Director level within the council and the document was written by an Assistant Director
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Can you confirm you have received this as my internet connection is slow today
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
Yes I did thanks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
How have you been treated because of this case?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
We have been segregated from colleagues and at every stage of the grievance process the council have denied any wrongdoing and accused us of basically fabricating the facts of our case. They have investigated the case and denied the contents of this section of the EA report and accused myself and my colleague of acting illegally leaving the council open the action against them. This is because we visited the site of the waste disposal to see if the waste was being legally disposed of using skips. When we got there there were no skips but there was a large amount of waste and evidence it had been illegally burnt. This was not carried out in any covert way but the council have claimed we have broken the law (RIPA).
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
It would appear that you are being treated detrimentally for making a protected disclosure, which is unlawful under the Public Interest Disclosure Act and the Employment Rights Act. Workers have the right not to be subjected to any detriment on the ground that they have made a "protected disclosure" (i.e. blown the whistle). The term "detriment" is not defined in law and the courts have held that a worker suffers a detriment if a reasonable worker would or might take the view that they have been disadvantaged in the circumstances in which they had to work. The Whistleblowing Commission Code of Practice sets out certain examples of disadvantages that could amount to a detriment, and they include: closer monitoring, ostracism, blocking access to resources, bullying or harassment, victimisation, etc. A worker may bring a claim in the employment tribunal if they are subjected to any detriment by any act by their employer on the ground that they have made a protected disclosure. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you need to follow if you want to take the matter further, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45339
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
Thank you. A claim for detriment must be presented within 3 months of the date the alleged act of detriment occurred, or if it was a series of detrimental act – from the date the last of such series of acts occurred. However, a new feature in the employment tribunal’s claims process is mandatory early conciliation with ACAS. This requires prospective claimants to notify ACAS and provide details of their intended claim and they would then try to negotiate between the claimant and respondent to seek out of court settlement in order to avoid having to take the claim to the tribunal. It is possible for the parties to refuse to engage in these negotiations, or that they are unsuccessful, in which case they would get permission to proceed with making the claim in the tribunal. If negotiations are initiated and settlement is reached, then the claimant would agree not to proceed with the claim in return for the agreed financial settlement. The conciliation procedure and the form to fill in can be found here: https://ec.acas.org.uk/Submission/SingleClaimantPage In terms of the time limits within which a claim must be presented, the early conciliation process places a ‘stop’ on that and the time between notifying ACAS and them issuing permission to proceed with the claim would not count for the purposes of these time limits.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for that advice and we will be taking the Industrial Tribunal route. I have one question, as they have denied the EA report contains this vital information in documents relating to this case, is there any specific action we can take in connection with this?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
Not specific to that, but it can form part of the general claim you make to show that they had deliberately been concealing information and subjecting you to detriment when you had a valid complaint which they tried to unfairly hide
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you Ben
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
You are welcome, all the best

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