Blacklisting is the practice of employers refusing to employ, dismissing or discriminating against those who are or who have been members of a Trade Union. Some employers, particularly in the construction industry, have been known to buy lists of names of Union members, and then make decisions about whether to employ a person based on this information. In some cases people were prevented from obtaining employment for a number of years.

The Employment Relations Act 1999 (Blacklists) Regulations 2010 prohibit the compilation, use and sale of lists of trade union members (Regulation 3). This legislation also makes it unlawful to refuse to employ a person (Regulation 5), to discriminate against a person (Regulation 9) or dismiss a person (Regulation 12) based on the information contained within such a list.

Following a raid by the Information Commissioners Office in 2009 evidence of blacklisting by a number of large employers in the construction industry was found. These companies, whilst not admitting liability, have agreed to compensate employees who have been refused employment on this basis. They have also made a commitment to work with Trade Unions to ensure that blacklisting does not continue in this industry.

If you think that you may have been blacklisted you can contact the Information Commissioners Office on 0303 123 1113 to check whether you are included on the list of names they recovered.  The Information Commissioners Office are also working with the DWP in an effort to contact affected employees using National Insurance numbers and recent contact information.

If you think that you may have been refused employment, treated differently or dismissed as a result your trade union membership then you may wish to seek legal advice. Beecham Peacock’s employment team can be contacted on 0191 2323048.

As a firm with a long standing commitment to the Trade Union movement Beecham Peacock Solicitors in Newcastle are keen to challenge such behaviour by employers.


Anna Hawksworth

Employment Paralegal

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