21 December 2017
‘Whistleblowing’ judge set for employment tribunal verdict
A judge who claims she was bullied after speaking out about government cuts is appealing a decision that she cannot be afforded the same protections as other whistleblowers because she is technically not a "worker".
In a test case at the Court of Appeal, District Judge Claire Gilham is alleging that she has been treated unfairly after speaking out about systematic failures in the judiciary.
An existing judgment from February 2015 prevents her from speaking out about her concerns, pertaining to "public interest disclosure detriments" and disability discrimination.
The Ministry of Justice contests that she is not a "worker" within the meaning of the 1996 Employment Rights Act.
That Act states: "A worker has the right not to be subjected to any detriment by any act, or any deliberate failure to act, by his employer, done on the ground that the worker has made a protected disclosure."
Speaking on behalf of District Judge Gilham at a recent hearing in London, her QC Rachel Crasnow says if successful in her appeal, the judge will take her case to an employment tribunal.
She added: "The alleged detriments did not involve any deductions from her pay, and neither was she dismissed.
"Nonetheless, her case is that she was bullied and overloaded with work to the extent that she suffered a breakdown which led to her being unable to work for years."
District Judge Gilham has been on sick leave since January 2013.
Lady Justice Gloster, Lord Justice Underhill and Lord Justice Singh will decide whether the judge will receive legal protections - those that are afforded to whistleblowers.