My Alleged Whistleblowing to Bloomberg’s Head of News That ‘Wasn’t Specific Enough, Not in Public Interest’

–Bear with this real-life story – the best bits below require some setting up. It’s worth it!
–I’ve sought to be balanced and put you the reader in the judge’s seat. Skip the legal stuff if you must. These are my words, unedited, so be gentle. Comments my way to mathew@CarrZee.net (including from Bloomberg folk)

By Mathew Carr

Dec. 22, 2021 — I’m reproducing some of my key “non-whistleblowing” after I lost my whistleblowing / unfair dismissal claims against Bloomberg LP last week and on Dec. 3. (Search for “Bloomberg” on CarrZee.org for more background.)

I was fired in May 2020 for lack of competence. I alleged my letting go was retaliatory after I blew the whistle on inadequate climate news coverage.

First, I set up below some of the British whistleblowing rules / law (with the help of a Practical Law UK Practice Note)

A whistleblowing disclosure in the UK may concern new information on damage being done to the environment in the past, present and future, in the sense that it involves telling a person something of which they were previously unaware, or it can involve drawing a person’s attention to a matter of which they are already aware (section 43L(3), ERA 1996).

There must be a disclosure of information.

In Kilraine v London Borough of Wandsworth [2018] EWCA Civ 1436, the Court of Appeal rejected the suggestion that, in Cavendish, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (the EAT) had identified the categories of “information” and “allegation” as mutually exclusive. The Court held that the wording of the legislation should not be glossed to introduce a rigid dichotomy between “information” on the one hand and “allegations” on the other. Sometimes a statement that could be characterised as an allegation would also constitute information and amount to a qualifying disclosure [an official whistleblowing disclsoure recognized by law]. However, not every statement involving an allegation would do so. It would depend on whether it had sufficient factual content and was sufficiently specific.

The public interest test was considered by the Court of Appeal in Chesterton Global Ltd (t/a Chestertons) v Nurmohamed [2017] EWCA Civ 979 (see Legal update, Whistleblowing: public interest test given wide interpretation (Court of Appeal)). The case concerned disclosures by a senior manager at Chestertons, an estate agent, about manipulation of the company’s accounts, which he believed had had an adverse effect on commission income for over 100 senior managers, including himself. Upholding an employment tribunal’s decision that the disclosure was a qualifying disclosure, the Court gave the following guidance:

  1. Following the logic set out in Babula (see Reasonable belief about wrongdoing), the tribunal has to determine:
  2. whether the worker subjectively believed at the time that the disclosure was in the public interest; and
  3. if so, whether that belief was objectively reasonable.
  4. There might be more than one reasonable view as to whether a particular disclosure was in the public interest, and the tribunal should not substitute its own view.
  5. In assessing the reasonableness of the worker’s belief, the tribunal is not restricted to the reasons that were in the mind of the worker at the time. The worker’s reasons are not of the essence, although the lack of any credible reason might cast doubt on whether the belief was genuine. However, since reasonableness is judged objectively, it is open to a tribunal to find that a worker’s belief was reasonable on grounds which the worker did not have in mind at the time.
  6. Belief in the public interest need not be the predominant motive for making the disclosure, or even form part of the worker’s motivation. The statute uses the phrase “in the belief…” which is not same as “motivated by the belief…”.
  7. There are no “absolute rules” about what it is reasonable to view as being in the public interest. Parliament had chosen not to define what “the public interest” means in the context of a qualifying disclosure, and it must therefore have intended employment tribunals to apply it “as a matter of educated impression”. [CarrZee adds emphasis]

Interestingly James Laddie QC of Matrix Chambers was acting for the whistleblower in the Chestertons case. Bloomberg hired him to fight me.

The EAT has so far refused to publish its necessarily rushed decision in my case and has apparently concluded my alleged whistleblowing wasn’t specific enough and wasn’t in the public interest. Below I highlight sections that I reckon clearly display specific information (bold) that was clearly in the public interest and tended to show how the environment was being damaged by the respondent (if indirectly) and specifically what could be done to limit that damage in the future:

[THE EXPLANATORY COMMENTS BY CARRZEE IN RED AND CAPS ARE FROM DECEMBER 22, 2021 AND WERE NOT PART OF THE ORIGINAL EMAIL]

Alleged Protected (Whistleblowing) Disclosure Number 2 (Struck Out by Tribunal, strike out confirmed by the EAT on Dec. 3, 2021) — THE STORY LINKS IN THE EMAIL BELOW DON’T WORK FOR CARRZEE.ORG READERS. IM INCLUDING THEM FOR COMPLETENESS:

_________________________________


January 18, 2017
To John Micklethwait, head of news, BLOOMBERG LP
From: Mathew Carr
Complete email:


“Thanks for your time last Friday after your TV interview.

After covering carbon markets for 15 years, I might be picking up on an undercurrent that others at Bloomberg News are not feeling. Some of our biggest customers, including BlackRock Inc. are tapping into it.
{NSN NWW5CWSYF01T } [story link]

In your editor’s farewell at the Economist two years ago, you wrote: “Because, in the end, free
markets and free minds will win. Liberalism has economic logic and technology on its side.”
The Paris climate deal effectively sets a global carbon budget for the world because of its 2 degree C target. That emissions cap means we effectively already have a global carbon market.

[I WAS SAYING THE 2C TARGET IN THE PARIS DEAL EFFECTIVELY SET A GLOBAL EMISSIONS CAP AND THE WORLD WOULD NEED TO SET POLICY TO ACHIEVE IT. EACH CLIMATE POLICY HAS AN EMBEDDED CARBON PRICE WITHIN IT. EG OFFSHORE WIND POLICY IN THE UK EFECTIVELY SET A CO2 PRICE WELL ABOVE $200 A TON OF CARBON DIOXIDE SAVED. I AGREE I COULD HAVE BEEN MORE SPECIFIC IN THE CASE IMMEDIATELY ABOVE. BUT KEEP READING]

Some key questions:
*how free will that market be? how will the right to emit be distributed to nations/companies?
*how quickly will we overshoot it?

When companies, such as the big miners in Australia, propose new fossil-fuel projects, we at
Bloomberg News should insist reporters consider including the impact of those plans on the global carbon budget.

It’s like putting warning labels on cigarette packets.

Unless we do this, we’ll be open to criticism and reputational risk in the future because the information investors relied on when spending their money omitted the relevant context.

However woolly, this climate agreement now exists. We shouldn’t ignore it.

[THE CONTEXT HERE IS THAT IN MY OPINION AT THE TIME, WE IN BLOOMBERG NEWS WERE LARGELY IGNORING PARIS AMID PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S ELECTION. HIS INAUGURATION WAS TWO DAYS AFTER I SENT THIS EMAIL. IMPORTANTLY I WAS NOT POINTING THE FINGER AT BLOOMBERG LP, I WAS SAYING WE ARE MESSING UP (including me). BLOOMBERG LP TURNED ME INTO A THREAT FROM A COLLABORATOR, I CONTEND, WHEN IT TALKED ME INTO TURNING MY COMPLAINTS INTO A GRIEVANCE]

It’s true that Bloomberg News’ energy coverage is now structured in a way that reflects the dysfunctional real world energy markets in 2017. We send scores of people to cover OPEC events designed to manipulate the already impure oil market. That’s where the money is, for now.

Meanwhile, we send one or two to cover UN climate talks grappling with complicated global energy-market structure problems from 2020.

[THE CLEAR INFERENCE BEING BLOOMBERG HAD ITS RESOURCES IN THE WRONG PLACE, TWO YEARS AFTER PARIS WAS STRUCK. CLEARLY THIS IS SPECIFIC INFORMATION THAT BLOOMBERG COULD HAVE USED TO HELP LIMIT DAMAGE TO THE ENVIRONMENT BY IMPROVING IMMEDIATELY ITS NEWS COVERAGE, YET IT DIDN’T THAT MUCH, IN MY OPINION]

We need to cover the climate talks more comprehensively to help focus politicians’ and envoys’ minds. When progress isn’t made, we need to better report why. Otherwise, these talks will continue to struggle.

[INDEED THE UN CLIMATE TALKS HAVE CONTINUED TO STRUGGLE AND THE NEWS COVERAGE OF THE UNFCCC PROCESS REMAINS LARGELY SUPERFICIAL, NOT JUST FROM BLOOMBERG BUT FROM MOST OF THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA]

Peter Grauer [Bloomberg chairman] cited Bloomberg New Energy Finance as providing a solution for us when I asked him something like this a couple of weeks ago: “Does our climate and fossil-fuel coverage strike the right balance?”

But BNEF isn’t as enmeshed in real-world markets as we are. Are we giving enough information to terminal subscribers and making them fully aware of the ground shifting beneath them?
I argue we need to look further forward.

[THIS IS KEY. I WAS WARNING BLOOMBERG TO LOOK BEYOND THE THREE YEARS FORWARD THAT MOST MARKETS FOCUS ON TOWARD THE NEXT THIRTY YEARS AND BEYOND. YES I COULD HAVE BEEN EVEN MORE SPECIFIC, BUT I WAS SUFFICIENTLY SPECIFIC, I CONTEND, TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF UK WHISTLEBLOWING LAW. AND INDEED PENSION FUNDS ARE NOW SPENDING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ON MODELLING CLIMATE RISKS FACED BY THEIR INVESTMENT PORTFOLIOS. SO LABELING THIS EMAIL IN 2021 AS “NON-SPECIFIC-ENOUGH WHISTLEBLOWING” SEEMS PERVERSE, IN MY OPINION]

I’m blowing this whistle because I reckon we’re at risk of missing out on scores of millions of dollars in new revenue. We can extend our lead vs our rivals. That opportunity cost is much more difficult to measure than web hits, of course. Missing out is still messing up. History will show it.

[YES IT IS TRUE I WAS BLOWING THE WHISTLE NOT JUST TO LIMIT DAMAGE TO THE ENVIRONMENT BUT TO BOOST BLOOMBERG’S FINANCIAL OPPORTUNITIES AND BOOST MY OWN CAREER. IT BACKFIRED, BIGTIME. IN WHISTLEBLOWING CASE LAW IT DOES NOT MATTER IF THEIR ARE MULTIPLE MOTIVATIONS FOR MAKING A WHISTLEBLOWING DISCLOSURE. THE KEY POINT IN MY CASE IS THAT ONE OF MY MAIN MOTIVATIONS WAS TO LIMIT DAMAGE TO THE CLIMATE]

Here are a few other ideas:
*When we write about countries’ energy-policy strategies, we should better include analysis about the direct carbon prices in those nations, as well as those implied by expensive renewable subsidies and, importantly, the negative carbon prices implied by fossil-fuel subsidies.

[THIS IS VERY SPECIFIC INFORMATION THAT WOULD LIMIT DAMAGE TO THE ENVIRONMENT IF BLOOMBERG WERE TO INCLUDE THIS INFORMATION ON DIRECT AND IMPLIED CARBON PRICES IN ITS PUBLISHED STORIES]

*The International Energy Agency already writes reports on these positive and negative prices


*We should consider assigning/reassigning more people, just a couple, to specifically cover new carbon markets, prices and taxes as they proliferate (and they are eg Canada, Korea) and in case they grow extremely fast after a major climate-related disaster.

[THIS IS VERY SPECIFIC INFORMATION THAT WOULD POTENTIALLY LIMIT DAMAGE TO THE ENVIRONMENT]


*China’s starting the biggest carbon market this year.
*We are being beaten on stories and advisory/analysis business by big companies such as RELX, which is setting up a carbon business in China.

[THIS IS VERY SPECIFIC INFORMATION THAT WOULD LIMIT DAMAGE TO THE ENVIRONMENT IF MORE NEWS ORGANISATIONS INCLUDING BLOOMBERG WOULD FOCUS ON THE MOST IMPORTANT REGIONS OF EMISSIONS GROWTH AND THE CREDIBILITY OF THE SOLUTIONS BEING DEPLOYED]

*Right now countries are making/debating policy changes and considering global market structure.

See this:
{NSN OGUJGK6K50ZL } [story link] and this {NSN OJQ2E06S972B } [story link].

We shouldn’t wait for others to move first. They will follow us.

[I CONTEND BLOOMBERG DIDN’T MOVE DECISIVELY AND WHEN IT DID IT EXCLUDED MY PARTICIPATION IN A RETALIATORY WAY — I LOST THIS ARGUMENT. REMEMBER, I NEVER SAID BLOOMBERG WAS THE WORST MEDIA ORGANISATION AT CLIMATE NEWS. I ARGUED WE KNEW BETTER SO WE SHOULD HAVE DONE BETTER]

Heather Harris [now Bloomberg’s chief content officer] recently called for our best ideas for market coverage.

Mike Bloomberg [Bloomberg LP majority owner], special UN climate envoy and head of the global taskforce aimed at highlighting the financial exposure of companies to the risk of climate change, is famous for not wanting us to mess up and for requiring us to do the right thing.

It’s in that spirit that I’m approaching you. I don’t want to go more months and regret saying nothing. We don’t want to underestimate our ability to help influence policy and ensure the free markets are structured in a better way in the future.

[THIS IS SPECIFIC-ENOUGH INFORMATION INFORMING MR MICKLETHWAIT THAT BLOOMBERG HAS THE ABILITY TO LIMIT DAMAGE TO THE ENVIRONMENT BECAUSE OF ITS GLOBAL INFLUENCE, I CONTEND]

Those markets are the only hope of meeting that budget because of their ability to deploy capital quickly and efficiently. There’s no other organisation on Earth better able to influence this situation than us and having carbon pricing in an obscure corner is part of the problem. You don’t have to take my word for it. Ask HSBC. {NSN OA98MM6TTDSC } [story link]

I’ve spoken to my line managers since seeing you Friday and I will continue to try to convince them of these arguments, as you mentioned.

Thanks for reading.

Sincerely, Mathew”

___________________

This above is just a couple of pages of 38 pages approx of alleged whistleblowing that I made from 2016-2019. There are many other examples that I did not include in my claim.

(More to come)

NOTES

ONE

See this for more context and search for “Bloomberg” on CarrZee.org for more: https://carrzee.org/2021/10/18/its-not-the-role-of-u-k-court-to-probe-the-soul-of-mike-bloomberg-yet-someone-needs-to-do-just-that/

Mr Micklethwait https://www.bloombergmedia.com/talent/people/john-micklethwait/

One comment

  1. But Data is Essential . . . These are just the tip of the Ice Berg . . .

    # 1 Teach OHM’s Law to every politician . . . At least 12 % of the Electricity produced is lost as Heat from production to consumption, residentially.

    # 2 Electric cars waste 16 % more of that charging the lithium Ion batteries – – 28 % combined !

    https://www.academia.edu/62574334/Tesla_Versus_Toyota_Camry

    # 3 All Electricity is Poison to Planet Earth . . .

    https://www.academia.edu/52039545/All_Electricity_Poisons_Planet_Earth

    # 4 Wind Turbines . . . are the ultimate in Embedded Costs and Environmental Destruction. Each weighs 1,688 tons (the equivalent of 23 houses) and contains 1,300 tons of concrete, 295 tons of steel (14.5 % Global CO2 is from concrete and steel), 48 tons of iron, 24 tons of fiberglass, and the hard to extract rare earths neodymium- Boron, praseodymium, and dysprosium. Each blade weighs 81,000 pounds and will last 15 to 20 years, at which time it must be replaced. We cannot recycle used blades.

    # 5 Human contribution to atmospheric CO2 is 3 %, Nature is 97 % annually. The Paris Accord reduces Human CO2 by 20 % or 0.6 % . . . A 1% increase in natural CO2 of .97%, is 3 times more than a 10% increase in Man-Made inputs or .3%. That same 1% increase from Nature is 16 times more than the 20% reduction or 0.6% proposed by the Paris Accord.

    https://www.academia.edu/49537285/Climate_Change_A_fresh_Perspective

    # 5 The Modern Warming Period is the 9th time Planet Earth has warmed in the last 8,000 years. There have been 9 cooling periods in between. All except our current warming period have had CO2 at 280 PPM except now. Why did the other 16 periods NOT follow CO2 ?

    https://www.academia.edu/49421861/CO2_Cradle_of_Life_on_Planet_Earth

    Better to Teach than ‘brow beat’ . . . So much Propaganda comes from ‘The Big Green Propaganda Machine’ . . . Time to turn the tide with solid facts of our own !!

    My thoughts . . .

    Liked by 1 person

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