Whistleblowing accountant wins opening round of legal battle against employer

Telecoms business Netcom Consultants UK sacked Antonio Fernandes on 15 December 1999 following an internal disciplinary hearing into non-payment of the company’s tax and pension fund contributions.

Only a month previously, Fernandes sent a fax detailing cashflow difficulties at the UK arm to the company’s US parent.

The majority of the allegations made in the fax related to former UK chief executive Stephen Woodhouse who, Fernandes believes, was fully aware of the problems with tax and pension payments.

According to today’s Financial Times, an employment tribunal ruled that Fernandes should receive backdated salary payments from 1 January 2000 and should continue to receive payment until the next hearing. Company whistleblowers are the only employees who can benefit from interim orders in this way.

Lawyers for Netcom claim Fernandes was not sacked because of the fax he sent to the US.

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