Workplace rights: Blacklisting outlawed

The Government plans legislation to prevent trade unionists being denied employment as a result of covert blacklists.

by Michael Burd and James Davies, Lewis Silkin LLP solicitors, e-mail: employment@lewissilkin.com
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

This follows an investigation by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) into a secret database of 3,200 workers, used by 40 construction firms to vet individuals for employment. Its owner, the Consulting Association, was successfully prosecuted in May, and legal action against implicated companies is being considered. Although supplementing the ICO's enforcement powers under the Data Protection Act, the new legislation will only outlaw blacklisting of workers for their union membership or activities. Other employment databases will be allowed if they comply with data protection laws. The National Staff Dismissal Register, for example, lets companies access details of employees who have been dismissed or resigned while under investigation for dishonesty towards their employer. The register is said to be struggling to persuade employers to sign up - probably on account of the negative press that such initiatives attract.

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