The Human Rights Act 1998 came into force on 2nd October 2000 incorporating into UK law the European Convention of Human Rights and from that time, it is unlawful for certain employers to act in a way that is inconsistent with these convention rights. Whilst the media blames the compensation culture on health and safety and human rights law, most employment solicitors would say that the picture is more complicated and many employment claims involve neither of these issues.
A number of articles in the Convention have a direct impact in the field of employment:-
- Right to respect of family life;
- Right to a fair trial;
- Right to privacy;
- Freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
- Freedom of expression;
- Right to be free from discrimination;
- Right to form and join a trade union.
The act will affect those working in public and hybrid bodies. Employment Tribunals will have to comply with the convention when deciding cases and interpret statute in accordance with the Convention which will indirectly give private sector employees some protection.