Alex Bearman, partner in the employment team, successfully defended airline Blink Ltd against a whistleblowing claim brought by a former British Airways pilot.
The claim against Blink Ltd, an airline which offers European air taxi services to business people and wealthy individuals, was brought by Captain Graham Howard, who was engaged by Blink as its Chief Training Captain. He argued that he had been dismissed for raising concerns with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) about an aircraft which had been flown with a damaged wing after striking a mobile fire extinguisher while taxiing at an airport. Captain Howard had discussed the incident with the CAA, but the Employment Tribunal accepted the evidence of Cameron Ogden, Blink's Managing Director, that the reason for termination was that Captain Howard had persuaded the CAA to pressure Mr Ogden to dismiss the pilot of the aircraft involved in the collision, whom Captain Howard disliked. His disclosure about the incident itself was not a factor in his dismissal.
Alex Bearman commented, "Whistleblowing laws provide important protection, particularly for those working in industries where failures could put the public's safety at risk. However, a claimant needs to be able to show that the treatment complained of was caused by the whistleblowing. In this case, the tribunal recognised that Blink did not dismiss Captain Howard because he had blown the whistle, noting that there was no evidence that the company had attempted to withhold information about the incident from the CAA.".
The case has been reported in the Daily Mail.