Mr Denby, a pilot, was turned down for a job with Jet2 because of his previous involvement in collective bargaining activities with a trade union. He was not a member of that trade union when he applied for the role.  

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held (in v Denby) the initial Employment Tribunal decision that ‘membership’ should be interpreted broadly. TThe EAT found that the current legal position (an employer cannot refuse to employ a job applicant on the grounds of their trade union membership) also extended to trade union activities which demonstrate an ‘outward and visible manifestation of trade union membership’.

Employers should tread carefully when deciding whether to employ a job applicant who has (or has not) been involved with trade unions. There is debate about which activities show a manifestation of trade union membership, but employers shouldn’t use this uncertainty as a tool to refuse employment.

For more information, please contact Nia Cooper.

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