Editor's message: The Human Rights Act 1998 gives further effect to the rights and freedoms guaranteed to everyone, including workers, under the European Convention on Human Rights.
The key human rights that have an impact on the employment relationship are the rights to: respect for private and family life; freedom of thought, conscience and religion; freedom of expression; freedom of assembly and association; and the prohibition of discrimination.
The domestic courts and tribunals have considered the effect of workers' human rights in several employment areas, including the interception and recording of private emails and telephone calls; surveillance; the use of social media in the workplace; and representation at disciplinary hearings.
It is important to consider such rights and freedoms when you are, for example, monitoring employees’ use of email and internet; installing CCTV; setting rule on social media use; and deciding who can accompany staff at disciplinary hearings.
Fiona Cuming, employment law editor
Updated to include information on Q v Secretary of State for Justice, in which the EAT considered art.8 rights in the context of an unfair dismissal claim.
In Herbai v Hungary, the European Court of Human Rights held that a worker's right to freedom of expression was violated when the employer dismissed him due to his involvement with a website devoted to HR issues.
In Gilham v Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Court unanimously held that whistleblowing protection extends to judicial officeholders.
In López Ribalda and others v Spain, the European Court of Human Rights held that Spanish shop workers' right to privacy was not violated when a supermarket secretly installed hidden cameras to monitor employee thefts.
In Kuteh v Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, the Court of Appeal held that the NHS trust fairly dismissed a Christian nurse for initiating inappropriate conversations about religion with patients in breach of a lawful management instruction.
Even if an employer is confident that theft or other offences are taking place in the workplace there are plenty of factors to consider before surveillance cameras are installed, writes Louise Lawrence, looking at how UK law ties in with European law.
In R (on the application of P) v Secretary of State for the Home Department and other appeals, the Supreme Court held that the criminal record checks rule requiring disclosure where a person has more than one conviction, regardless of the circumstances of the offences, is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
In Lee v Ashers Baking Co Ltd and others, the Supreme Court held that a Christian bakery did not commit direct sexual orientation discrimination in the provision of goods and services when it refused to fulfil a cake order with a message in support of same-sex marriage.
In R (on the application of AR) v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police and another, the Supreme Court held that, although the disclosure of the appellant's acquittal for rape was an interference with his human rights, it was justified. However, the Court expressed concern at the lack of guidance for employers on how to deal with disclosures of serious criminal charges that result in acquittals.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to human rights.