A court has thrown out one of the two unfair dismissal claims made by the former chair of the Royal College of Nursing’s Council after he was removed from the organisation following an investigation into his conduct.
David Dawes, who was chair of the RCN Council from September 2020 until he was suspended in September 2021, was told by the court that his claim would not be considered on the grounds that he was not employed by the RCN at the time of his alleged unfair dismissal.
Mr Dawes was suspended from the council after an investigation into complaints made against him.
However, Mr Dawes disputed the allegations, claiming that he was a whistleblower who had been unfairly dismissed after ‘exposing’ the ‘cover up’ of the the Carr report which was released last year.
Mr Dawes claimed that he ‘whistleblew on the RCN’s cover-up of the Bruce Carr enquiry into the real circumstances behind Dame Donna Kinnair’s removal last year,’ saying that he was ‘removed from the RCN as a result’.
During a tribunal on 25 and 26 January, the RCN sought to strike out Mr Dawes’ complaints on several grounds, including that Mr Dawes did not make genuine ‘protected disclosures’ that would protect him under whistleblowing laws.
The judge ruled that Mr Dawes was not employed during the time in which he was dismissed and so the tribunal had no jurisdiction over the case.
Mr Dawes has also claimed victimisation of a worker and unfair dismissal as a worker, as opposed to as an employee, against the RCN, both as a result of whistleblowing.
Mr Dawes has made a total of 13 complaints against the RCN concerning breaches of union rules, also claiming victimisation of a worker and unfair dismissal as worker, as opposed to an employee.
If these claims are not struck out by subsequent decision, a full employment tribunal hearing will then take place. The judge said he would provide a written decision ‘in due course’.
A Certification Officer hearing between Mr Dawes and the RCN is due to take place on 14 and 15 February this year.
Mr Dawes said: I am very happy with the way the tribunal went last week and am optimistic that the judge will throw out the RCN’s strike out application. Whistleblowing victimisation is illegal whoever does it but there can be absolutely no excuse for a trade union to victimise whistleblowers exposing criminal activity within a union.”
The RCN has been approached for comment on the tribunal’s decision.