Cambridge businessman wins £3.4 million in Employment Tribunal claim

hmctsA Cambridge businessman has been awarded the rather large sum of £3.4 million in the Employment Tribunal after succeeding with his whistleblowing claim.

Mr David Best, 63, successfully sued his former employer, Medical Marketing International, after he alleged that he had been dismissed for “whistleblowing” on illicit practices at the business.

Mr Best – whose wife formed the business in 1988 – was employed as chairman and managing director of the Cambridge-based firm until he was dismissed for gross misconduct in 2008. Mr Best alleged that he had been sacked because he had made disclosures of information relating to the artificial depressing of the share price at the company – a practice that is that unlawful. He submitted that once he had made these disclosures (known as “protected disclosures” under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998) his dismissal from the company was engineered by other board members.

The former managing director subsequently instructed employment law solicitors and submitted an Employment Tribunal claim in 2008. The matter – after five years – came before the Employment Tribunal last month. The Tribunal heard evidence from Mr Best that he had grounds for belief in 2008 that other members of the board were withholding positive test results on a prostate cancer drug in order to artificially depress the share price of the company. Once Mr Best found out about this he complained to the relevant persons but instead of remedial action being taken against the offending persons, Mr Best found himself maneuvered out of the company. The Respondent did not appear in person but submitted written representations.

The Employment Tribunal ruled in Mr Best’s favour in the claim, holding that ” The sole reason for the claimant’s dismissal was his actions in seeking to expose what he, in good faith, believed to be fraud and unlawful activities by his fellow directors and others. The response of the company throughout was to ignore or deny any problem, ignore the claimant’s complaints and instead seek to find a reason to remove the claimant from the company.” He was also apparently awarded a remedy of £3.4 million.