Charity ordered to pay additional £10,000 to whistleblower

06 Jun 2024 News

By Shawn Hempel/Adobe

Human Relief Foundation has been ordered to pay almost £10,000 in legal costs to a former fundraising officer, after a tribunal ruled she was unfairly dismissed following her making a protected disclosure.

The humanitarian aid charity has been ordered to pay Farah Ahmad £9,777 in legal expenses, in addition to the £31,600 it was previously ordered to pay.

Human Relief Foundation, which recorded an income of £13.9m in 2022, was previously ordered to pay Ahmad £30,000 as an “injury to feelings award, awarded as a result of her being subjected to the detriments found for making a protected disclosure”.

It was also ordered to pay her £1,607 in damages for a breach of contract in relation to paying only 80% of her salary for a period recorded as furlough.

Ahmad had been employed by Human Relief Foundation as a fundraising officer from September 2018 until November 2020, when she was dismissed.

Case notes from Ahmad’s lawyer say that she had found evidence that the charity’s office had been used “for social purposes, including smoking (and potentially drug taking), during lockdown”.

After she submitted her whistleblowing letter on 11 September 2020, the tribunal found that Ahmad was subjected to a series of detriments by staff of the charity.

Decision to awards costs

The tribunal took into account the fact that Human Relief Foundation is a charity when considering whether to award costs, the tribunal documents read.

“We concluded that the fact that it was a charity did not give it a licence to breach the law or to pursue a defence which had no reasonable prospect of success”, they say.

“It did not mean that a costs award should not be made.

“There was no evidence presented to us that the respondent would be unable to meet any costs awarded, albeit that we were mindful that the costs awarded would be required to be paid by a charity which had needed to downsize and who had very positive and laudable aims.”

Human Relief Foundation has not yet responded to Civil Society’s request for comment.

For more news, interviews, opinion and analysis about charities and the voluntary sector, sign up to receive the free Civil Society daily news bulletin here.


More on