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UK must protect employees from dismissal on grounds of political opinion or affiliation

The European Court of Human Rights has held that UK law is in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights because it does not extend specific protection to employees dismissed on the grounds of their political beliefs or affiliation. It is incumbent on the UK to change the law to offer such protection to all employees, either by creating an exception to the requirement for a qualifying period for unfair dismissal, or by creating a free-standing claim for unlawful discrimination on grounds of political affiliation. The ECtHR commented that Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides a universal right of freedom of assembly, applies to all associations, including those whose views offend, shock or disturb. The case was brought by an individual who was dismissed after being elected as a local councillor for the BNP. (Redfearn v United Kingdom [2012] ECHR 1878.)

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