14 February 2013

Qualifying service exemption for dismissals on grounds of political opinion or affiliation

In November 2012 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the UK was in breach of Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights by preventing people who do not have a qualifying period of service from bringing claims for unfair dismissal on grounds of political opinion or affiliation.  The case in question, Redfearn v UK, concerned a bus driver who was dismissed after he became a BNP councillor.

Having considered this judgment the Government has decided to bring UK legislation into line with the ruling by making an amendment to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill which is currently before the House of Lords.  The amendment will mean that claimants alleging their dismissal was on grounds of political opinion or affiliation will not require any qualifying period of service to claim unfair dismissal.  This additional protection would come into effect two months after the Bill receives Royal Assent and would apply to dismissals after that date.

To read the Ministerial statement, click here.

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