Tribunal rules accountant ‘unfairly dismissed’

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. Fernandes reported that Woodhouse made claims of 370,000 pounds in cash advances and expenses without receipts.

But in what is believed to be the first ‘whistleblower’ unfair dismissal case under the Public Interest Disclosure provisions, the tribunal concluded that Fernandes had been intimidated and pressurised to resign by Netcom’s management so that the firm’s financial affirs could be cover up.

A hearing on 12 June will determine compensation.

Whistleblowing accountant wins opening round of legal battle against employer

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