• Robert Spicer

Trade union purposes

UNFAIR DISMISSAL

Automatically unfair

Trade union purposes

Case Metrolink RATPDEV v Morris UKEAT/0113/16/RN

Facts M, a union representative, was dismissed because his employer believed that he had obtained and shared sensitive company information. He complained of unfair dismissal. The employment tribunal found that the dismissal had been automatically unfair. M had acted in the capacity of union representative, storing and sharing the information because of concerns raised with him by members. M had referred to the information in a collective grievance letter. The employer appealed to the EAT.

Decision 1. The appeal was allowed and the matter remitted for rehearing.

2. The employment judge had not considered the real issues in the case. She had failed to consider whether a dismissal for the wrongful or unlawful retention of confidential information for trade union purposes enjoyed the protection of section 152 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

Section 152 states, in summary, that it is unlawful to dismiss an employee for joining or not joining a union, taking part in its activities, using its services or refusing to accept an inducement.

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