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Political opinions and affiliation, whistleblowing

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[Thanks to Laurie Anstis of Boyes Turner for preparing this case summary]

The government has put forward a series of amendments to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, which is currently making its way through Parliament.

The first is an amendment to disapply the qualifying period for unfair dismissal "if the reason (or, if more than one, the principal reason) for the dismissal is, or relates to, the employee's political opinions or affiliation". This amendment seeks to implement the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Redfearn v UK. It does not make a dismissal on the basis of political opinion or affiliation automatically unfair, but simply permits such an unfair dismissal claim to be heard on normal principles without the need for qualifying service.

The second removes the requirement for protected disclosures to be made "in good faith", substituting instead a discretion for the employment tribunal to reduce compensation by up to 25% in cases where the disclosure is not made in good faith.

The final amendment provides that an employment tribunal must have regard to an employer's ability to pay in considering the financial penalties provided for in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill.