A whistleblower who was sacked after telling his local council that his employer breached recycling regulations has been awarded £19,000 for offences including unfair dismissal.
Stephen Wharton was dismissed in April following allegations he made against his former employer Ward Recycling. He told Chesterfield Borough Council, with which the company had a contract, that Ward was burying pulp paper that was meant to be recycled.
Wharton was dismissed for gross misconduct after he blew the whistle.
The tribunal found Wharton had suffered unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal, a breach of contract for Ward’s failure to pay him pay sick pay, and detriment suffered as a result of having made a protected disclosure.
The judge said that his dismissal was automatically unfair because it was prompted by his protected disclosure, and was not due to gross misconduct as alleged by Ward. He added that Ward was “scraping the barrel” by attempting to justify the dismissal.
A spokeswoman for Shacklock Solicitors, which represented Wharton, said: “The case highlights how essential it is that employees feel able to raise real concerns they might have in relation to the practices of their employer, and that they are protected when they do so.”
She added that Wharton had “suffered terrible treatment from his employer, which no employee should have to tolerate.”