Richard Grogan on employment law: Protected disclosures

Richard Grogan
Richard Grogan

Employment law solicitor Richard Grogan of Richard Grogan & Associates writes on a case involving protected disclosures under the Protected Disclosure Act 2014.

Very few protected disclosure cases come on for hearing. In this case, being ADJ5583, the Adjudication Officer made an award of €30,000.

In this case the employee had made disclosures. An internal audit unit investigated the disclosure and found that none of the allegations were upheld. This was appealed to an external reviewer who found that the discloser was treated unfairly and isolated after making the disclosures and that the opportunities for career advancement were curtailed by the respondent deliberately.

The employee applied for an extension of time under Section 1 (7) of Schedule 2 in that he was still involved in the internal appeal procedure until he received the external reviewers report.

The allegation was that as a result of this he was denied promotional opportunities which would have earned him an increased basic wage of €6,000 per annum from the particular public body.

In this case it was argued that maximum damages should be awarded and the case of Von Coulson and Kamann was quoted.

The AO in this case found that it was accepted that a protected disclosure on the inefficient use of tax payers funds had been made.

A number of the complaints made by the employee in this case were dismissed for being out of time or that the AO had found that they were not penalisation. However an incident which occurred in 2015 was held to be penalisation.

An issue arose as a result of which a report was made to the governor or the particular prison relating to an issue of the employee being under surveillance. The employee asked several times if there had been any response from the gardaí but nothing was heard. The employee wrote in 2016 about the threat.

The employee subsequently discovered that as far back as April 2015, the gardaí had confirmed there was no threat to the complainant or his family. The employee was not advised of this.

The AO set out the provisions of section 3 of the Act and held that the failure to advise the employee was because of the protected disclosure and amounted to penalisation. An award of €30,000 was made.

The decision does not disclose that, in this case, solicitors were involved in acting for the employee.

Our understanding of matters is that this is a case where the solicitor acting for the employee was interviewed on radio one Saturday.

  • Richard Grogan is the principal solicitor at Richard Grogan & Associates Solicitors. You can subscribe to the firm’s monthly newsletter at
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