Trade union blacklisting
Produced in partnership with Keith Bryant QC of Outer Temple Chambers

The following Employment practice note produced in partnership with Keith Bryant QC of Outer Temple Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Trade union blacklisting
  • Meaning of 'prohibited list'
  • A list
  • Details of persons
  • Trade union membership
  • Participation in trade union activities
  • Use for the purpose of discrimination
  • Who is protected
  • Location
  • The general prohibition
  • More...

Trade union blacklisting

Employers and employment agencies will typically wish to obtain references or undergo other vetting processes when deciding who to give work to—see Practice Note: Pre-employment checks. Such things will generally be entirely lawful. Blacklisting, on the other hand, involves systematically compiling information about trade unionists with a view to discriminating against them on the basis of their union membership or activities. Such blacklisting is unlawful under the Employment Relations Act 1999 (Blacklists) Regulations 2010, SI 2010/493 (Blacklisting Regulations 2010).

Meaning of 'prohibited list'

The statutory provisions use the phrase ‘prohibited list’, the compiling, use, sale or supply of which is unlawful in various circumstances. A ‘prohibited list’ is a list:

  1. which contains details of persons who:

    1. are or have been members of trade unions, or

    2. are taking part or have taken part in trade union activities, and

  2. is compiled with a view to being used by employers or employment agencies for the purpose of discrimination in relation to recruitment or the treatment of workers

The different elements of this definition are considered below.

A list

'List' is defined as any index or other set of items whether recorded electronically or by other means.

There is no express requirement for details of any minimum number of individuals to count as a list. The guidance issued by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)—now the Department for Business, Energy

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