The Government has brought into force Regulations that make it unlawful to blacklist workers from employment as a result of their union membership or activities. The Employment Relations Act 1999 (Blacklists) Regulations 2010 (SI 2010/493) came into force on 2 March 2010, rather than in early April as anticipated. They follow a consultation exercise during 2009. Under the Regulations, current and former trade union members may complain to an employment tribunal if they are refused employment, subjected to a detriment, or unfairly dismissed for a reason relating to a blacklist. Employment agencies are unable to refuse to provide a service because a worker appears on a blacklist.
It is also unlawful to compile, use, sell or supply blacklists containing details of people who are, or have been, trade union members or who are taking part, or have taken part, in trade union activities where the blacklist may be used by employers to discriminate in relation to recruitment or the treatment of existing workers. Courts may award damages, including damages for injury to feelings, where the relevant provisions are breached.
The Government has published guidance on the application of the Regulations.
The blacklisting of trade unionists - consultation on revised draft regulations (PDF format, 373K) (on the BIS website). The
Government's consultation document that sought views on how it should honour its commitment to preventing blacklisting.
Government response to the public consultation - the blacklisting of trade unionists: revised draft Regulations (also on the BIS website). The Government's response to the consultation exercise.
Selection, Unfair dismissal: rights on termination and The consequences of recognition. The XpertHR employment law manual covers the law relating to recruitment, unfair dismissal and trade union recognition.