Are LLP Members Entitled to Whistleblowing Protections?

The Supreme Court has recently held in a case which centred on whistleblowing, that members of limited liability partnerships (LLPs) areconsidered 'workers' under the Employment Rights Act and thus are entitled to whistleblowing protections.

Partners in LLPs are those most likely to become aware of wrongdoings within firms, yet previously had been at a severe disadvantage compared to other employees in terms of protection for whistleblowing. This decision overturned the lower courts ruling from September 2012, which denied LLP members protection as 'workers'.

The case was brought by a previous Clyde & Co partner, Krista Bates van Winkelhof, who alleges that she was dismissed for blowing the whistle against a managing parter of its Tanzanian associate firm for bribery. She also had recently disclosed to the firm that she was pregnant, alleging sexual discrimination.

It is essential that whistleblowing - or "making a disclosure in the public interest" as it is defined - comes with adequate protection, otherwise workers, employees and LLP members alike may be dissuaded from speaking out in fear of the ramifications.

The decision will also bring wider consequences, as defining LLP members as "workers" means they are entitled to further employment rights, including rights to holiday pay, automatic enrolment in pension schemes and the minimum wage.

Van Wilkenhof's case will now be heard at an Employment Tribunal later this year.

Need Employment Law Advice in Aberdeen?

Whether you are an employee, employer or worker needing help to understand what this case means for you, Employment Law Aberdeen can help. To get in touch please call 01224 370 208. You can also complete our online enquiry form.

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