Balfour Beatty pays £137,000 to whistleblower bullied out of job

2016-01-25 chris posted:

A Balfour Beatty whistleblower was paid £137,000 compensation after being bullied out of his job. He warned his bosses of inflated costs on a Welsh Government project and accused the firm of ripping off taxpayers.

Nigel McArthur joined Balfour Beatty in 2005, and has worked in the construction industry for 38 years.He quit his job in February 2015 over the treatment he suffered following his disclosure.

The Employment Tribunal heard how McArthur, a regional preconstruction manager at Balfour Beatty, was left “completely shellshocked” after he was hounded out of his job by his bosses following his protected disclosure about the Cardiff Callaghan Square project in 2014.

The Welsh government awarded a contract to Balfour Beatty to construct a building in Callaghan Square as part of a regeneration on a vacant site. The project was later halted but the firm was paid about £600,000 for work carried out.

The Welsh Government awarded the £18.5m contract to Balfour Beatty to build an office in Cardiff as part of the regeneration of a vacant site. McArthur said Balfour Beatty had hidden the true costs of its subcontractors from the Welsh Governmentbecause it submitted the lowest quotes from sub-contractors, and that profit margins on the job had increased from an agreed 3.3% to 7.3%.

McArthur said he was bullied in a “verbal confrontation” by his line manager even after two directors had expressed agreement with his concerns and “acknowledged that a fraud had been committed”.

“It was never on my radar screen. That’s why I resigned. I was told by a senior figure that if these matters were ever made public those involved 'would never work again'."
“I was bullied and harassed after I made this disclosure. It left me feeling anxious and I had sleepless nights.”

Balfour Beatty settled the case two weeks before a full five-day public hearing. The firm admitted liability for unfairly dismissing him and paid him £137,000 compensation.

The case is a useful reminder for employers when they fail to support workers when they make a qualifying disclosure anjd fulfil certain requirements under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, known as the whistleblowing legislation. Workers who make a protected disclosure are protected against dismissal and victimisation, and could cost a business thousands of pounds.

For more information about whistleblowing, contact us today on 01225 632240 or at info@renneyandco.com.

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