WITNESS DISMISSED

THE STORY

JB was one of several pharmacists at a chemist in a small town. Her boss owned the shop and was himself a pharmacist. Part of his work was to claim rebates from the NHS for the drugs prescribed. Occasionally the NHS would ring to check one of prescriptions and when her boss was not there, JB would answer. More often than not she would realise that some error had crept into the paperwork which favoured the pharmacy. She would put this right and then politely point it out to her boss. The errors kept on being made and whenever the NHS asked JB she would deal with it honestly and fairly. One day when the boss was away two NHS investigators called in to the shop and asked to meet JB to go through some of the rebates claimed. She agreed to meet them and told her boss. After the interview, at the request of the investigators, JB made a formal statement. Again she told her boss what was happening. Some weeks later he was arrested and charged with fraud. The next day she received a letter from his solicitors dismissing her. They claimed that if she continued to work there, her boss could also be charged with interfering with a witness. JB rang us.

WHAT WE ADVISED

We contacted the NHS prosecutors and the appropriate authorities and explained that this approach would not help to tackle workplace fraud. We suggested that they should seek to attach bail conditions instead which would reduce the risk that witnesses could be dismissed. As to JB’s case, we advised her to bring a Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA) claim and put her in touch with lawyers willing to help ensure she got proper compensation.

WHAT HAPPENED

We also advised her how to approach future employers and before long she had another job.