9th March 2010


 Issue No.  2010/09





It has been well reported that Trade Union membership has steadily declined over the last 10-15 years.  Almost in spite of this, news reports of T.U. activity and industrial action seem rarely out of the press over recent months and this prompts us to comment on a piece of legislation designed to protect T.U. members.
On 2nd March 2010, the Employment Relations Act 1999 (Blacklists) Regulations (SI 2010/493) came into force. In summary, the regulations:  
  • prohibit the compilation, dissemination and use of prohibited lists;  
(A ‘prohibited list’ is a list containing details of persons who are or have been members of a trade union or persons who are taking part or have taken part in trade union activity, that has been complied with a view to being used by employers or employment agencies for the purpose of discrimination).  
  • make it unlawful for organisations to refuse employment, to dismiss an employee or otherwise subject a worker to a detriment for a reason related to a prohibited list; 
  • make it unlawful for an employment agency to refuse a service to a worker for a reason related to a prohibited list; 
  • provide for the employment tribunal to hear complaints about alleged breaches of the regulations, including where the employee has been refused employment or employment agency services or been subjected to a detriment for a reason related to a blacklist  (Minimum (£5,000) and maximum (£65,300) compensation in specified cases is set out); and 
  • as an alternative, provide for the civil courts to hear complaints from any persons who have suffered loss or potential loss because of a breach of the regulations and award damages, including damages for injury to feelings, and make orders restraining or preventing the compilation, distribution and use of the blacklist. 

We will monitor how Courts and Tribunals deal with the Regulations and we will keep you updated with developments.




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