Amy is an employee in the Department of Education. She commenced her employment on the 1st March 2023 in the accounts section of the Department of Education. Since starting in her role, Amy’s line manager, Sarah, requests Amy to process receipts weekly. These receipts are for meals in various restaurants in Dublin. Sarah explains to Amy that these meals are lunches with consultants for a project that is currently being undertaken by the Department of Education. On the assessment of the receipts, Amy notices that some of the receipts are dated and timed for Saturday evenings.
Amy is concerned that Sarah is trying to claim expenses for personal meals. She wishes to raise her concern about this issue but it not sure who to speak to. Amy approaches you as her legal advisor to seek advice on this. She is also anxious about Sarah retaliating against her for coming to you with her concern.
Amy raises her concern with the designated protected disclosures department within the Department of Education on 20 April 2023. She receives an acknowledgment of the disclosure within seven days. Amy is having lunch in the cafeteria the following week and Sarah approaches her and shouts that ‘I can’t believe that you have been lying about me and saying that I am making false claims for expenses! How dare you! You better watch yourself; I can make your life here a living hell! I’m going to sue you for this!’ Amy is shocked by this encounter and very embarrassed to be accosted by Sarah in front of her colleagues.
She’s also fearful that Sarah might launch legal proceedings against her for making her disclosure. Amy is subsequently invited by HR to a probation meeting where she is informed that she has failed to pass probation and her employment is terminated immediately. Amy is devastated that her employment has ended. She finds out after that the Head of HR is in a relationship with Sarah.