Partner at Rahman Lowe Solicitors, London
Who? Jahad Rahman, partner at Rahman Lowe Solicitors, London.
Why is he in the news? Represented radiographer Sue Allison in a successful claim concerning whistleblowing at the employment tribunal in Manchester. The tribunal determined that a non-disclosure agreement she signed without legal advice was unenforceable. Allison had raised concerns about missed cancer diagnoses and standards of care in a breast-screening unit at Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. She can now press ahead with claims that she was ostracised, blacklisted and subjected to extensive bullying after blowing the whistle in 2012.
In a statement, the trust’s medical director David Walker said: ‘The trust entered into a settlement agreement with Mrs Allison in 2015 to resolve her concerns relating to specific employment disputes at the time… All the patient safety concerns raised by Mrs Allison in 2014 were thoroughly investigated with substantial input from the Care Quality Commission, NHS Improvement (Monitor at that time) and Public Health England.’
Thoughts on the case: ‘This exposes the ongoing misuse of gagging orders by the NHS and reinforces the importance of obtaining legal advice on the terms and effect of NDAs. As a result of our successful case, health secretary Matt Hancock said he was “determined to end” the injustice of making health service staff choose between speaking out to protect patients and keeping their job. This is significant because the promise to change a national policy could save lives.’
Dealing with the media: ‘The mainstream media have been supportive and sympathetic. The public feel very strongly about the unethical use of gagging clauses to silence whistleblowers, in particular workers that complain about patient safety. This became apparent from the generosity shown in our client’s CrowdJustice campaign. Press attention coupled with the enormous power of social media meant we helped our client raise over £10,000 within a month.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘I was inspired by lawyers such as Gandhi and Mandela, in particular their struggle for justice, fairness and equality.’
Career high: ‘Winning my first appeal in the Employment Appeal Tribunal as a three-year-qualified solicitor; setting up Rahman Lowe, a specialist employment law firm in 2012; and being recognised as a top firm by the Legal 500 after only two years.’
Career low: ‘The introduction of issue fees and hearing fees for claimants in employment tribunals in 2013 and the impact this had on access to justice for low-paid workers.’