The Employment Relations Act 1999 (Blacklists) Regulations 2010, which prohibit the blacklisting of trade union members and activists, came into force on 2 March 2010. Broadly, the Regulations prohibit employers, employment agencies and others from using such blacklists for discriminatory purposes such as employment vetting.
Under the Regulations, it is unlawful to compile, use, sell or supply ‘prohibited lists’, subject to certain exemptions. Workers have the right not to be subjected to detriment or dismissal for a reason connected to a prohibited list. Individuals and trade unions can bring claims in the Employment Tribunal or County Court if they have suffered loss or are threatened with potential loss as a result of unlawful activities.
The Government has also published its final guidance (PDF) on the legislation. The reform will be of particular relevance in the UK construction sector. Last year, an investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office uncovered a covert database, operated by an organisation called the Consulting Association, which was being used by major construction companies to vet workers for employment. The database listed over 3,200 individuals who were active trade union members or otherwise vocal on issues such as health and safety in the industry.