Can you claim that dismissal was as being part of a political party?
This is an interesting new case, as referred over to the European Court of Human Rights in Redfearn v UK.
It seems that this is now going to move into the realms of protection via the Equality Act 2010.
The Claimant was employed by Serco providing transport services for children and adults in Bradford. He was elected as a Councillor for the BNP.
Serco summarily dismissed him, citing safety concerns about his risk of attracting attack. The Claimant had insufficient service to bring an unfair dismissal claim.
His race discrimination claim failed. The ECtHR held that the lack of unfair dismissal protection interfered with his right to freedom of assembly under Article 11 of the ECHR.
There is an obligation to provide protection against dismissal motivated by an employee’s membership of a political party, or at least to provide the means for an independent evaluation of the proportionality of such a dismissal.
This applied notwithstanding that the views of that party might be offensive, because of the importance of democracy.
In no way to we advocate membership of any political belief or party, but it just goes to show. You may disagree, but free speech is enshrined even if you disagree with what is being said and whom it is being said by.
It may now be arguable that political views should be treated as incorporated into the definition of philosophical beliefs for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010. Yet another case of a real illustration as to why you need advice before dismissal. If an organisation as large as SERCO can get it wrong, then you should always get advice.
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