Balfour Beatty admits liability and regrets ‘’failing to support employee’ 

Balfour Beatty has paid £137,000 to a whistleblower who claimed he was “bullied” out of his job.

Nigel McArthur, formally a pre-construction manager for the firm in Exmouth, said managers at the company hounded him after he raised concerns about the true cost of an £18.5m building project in Cardiff.

He said that the company had overcharged the Welsh Government for the construction work by hiding the real costs. His former employer admitted liability for unfairly dismissing him before the case was due to be heard at employment tribunal.

Balfour Beatty had been awarded a contract by the Welsh government to construct a building in Callaghan Square.

Worked was started but stopped later on with the construction firm being paid £600,000 for the work they had completed.

However, McArthur found the company had hidden its true sub-contractor costs to increase its profit margins from an agreed 3.3 per cent to 7.34 per cent, thus overcharging the Welsh government. 

But when McArthur shared his findings with his line manager he was told “he should not have investigated the costs or alternatively that he should not be concerned about it".

Following the discussion, McArthur said he was later bullied until he left the employer in February 2015.

McArthur’s solicitor, Terry Falcao, of Stephens and Scown, said the claim was met with denials by the construction firm until November 2015, two weeks before the employment tribunal hearing was due.

Balfour Beatty admitted liability with the caveat that it had not carried out criminal activity or breached legal obligations. The company said it regretted that it had "failed to properly support our employee following concerns they raised".

It also said it had "provided full disclosure to the Welsh Assembly who were satisfied with our approach".