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Qualifying period for unfair dismissal to be removed for those dismissed for political opinion or affiliation

9 February 2013

The government has confirmed that it is to amend the law in light of Redfearn v UK.

Mr Redfearn argued he had been dismissed after becoming a BNP councillor, i.e. on grounds of his political affiliation. He was unable to claim unfair dismissal against his employer, Bradford City Council, because he did not have the continuity of employment needed to do so. He was unsuccessful with a claim under the Race Relations Act 1976 – his complaint was of discrimination on political grounds, outside of the scope of discrimination legislation. The European Court held the continuity requirement breached Article 11 of the European Convention, namely the right to protest and to freedom of association.

As a result, no continuity of service will be needed where the alleged dismissal is on grounds of political belief or affiliation. Employers must not overlook this new exemption when proposing to dismiss any employee who has not attained the relevant continuity of employment for a standard unfair dismissal claim.

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