People often get themselves into trouble not for what they say, but how they say it.

Telling someone that they look amazing is obviously a great compliment and will make them feel good.

Telling someone that they look so much better than the last time you saw them will not.

In reality you’re not really saying anything different, but the second one clearly says that they looked awful last time, whereas the first one just focuses on the positives.

I doubt I’m telling you anything that you didn’t already know, but apparently there are still people who can learn from this very simple message.

Take, for example, a recent Employment Tribunal case, where an employee made a protected disclosure (ie whistleblowing) but was still dismissed and lost the whistleblowing claim in Tribunal. Those of you with any understanding of that area of law will be surprised by this, but it’s a classing case of communication. The woman in question was not dismissed because of the whistleblowing itself, but the implications of it. Specifically, that in doing so, she had criticised the Head of the legal department, and had made the disclosure to that Head, who decided that she could no longer work with the woman who had made the disclosure.

The Tribunal, the EAT and the Court of Appeal all rejected her claim in respect of the whistleblowing allegation. They found that she had not been dismissed because she had made a protected disclosure, but because she had questioned the competency of the Head.

It has become quite comment recently to see people who have very good grounds for whistleblowing allegations, but risk losing protection because they don’t do it in the right way. It’s not just what you do but how you do it. If in doubt, take legal advice BEFORE you make the disclosure, just to be on the safe side.

Kleyman & Co Solicitors. The full service law firm. Telling it to you straight.