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Employment Relations Act 1999

Part VIII: Detriment

114.Detriment is action short of dismissal taken by an employer which is damaging to the worker. Paragraphs 156-160 set out provisions prohibiting such detriment in respect of a worker on the grounds relating to recognition or derecognition of a union listed in paragraph 156(2). Under section 146 of the 1992 Act, an employee currently has the right not to suffer detriment on grounds of membership, non-membership or taking part in the activities of a trade union. The Act extends this right so as to prohibit detriment in respect of the paragraph 156(2) grounds and gives employees the right to complain in respect of such detriment to an employment tribunal. Paragraphs 157-160 make provision for time limits and other procedural matters and in relation to the calculation of awards.

115.Paragraph 161 provides that an employee’s dismissal is unfair if it is on the grounds related to recognition or derecognition listed in paragraph 161(2); these are the same grounds as in paragraph 156(2). Paragraph 162 makes similar provision in respect of selection for redundancy. Paragraph 163 has the effect that dismissal which would be unfair under paragraphs 161 or 162 will still be unfair even if the dismissal consists of the expiry of a fixed term contract and the employee has waived the right to claim unfair dismissal on that expiry as permitted by section 197(1) of the 1996 Act. This provision is transitional in nature since such waivers will be prohibited by section 18 of the Act when it is brought into force.

116.Paragraph 164 has the effect that dismissal on the grounds listed in paragraph 161(2) is unfair even if the employee has not completed the qualifying period normally required for claiming unfair dismissal or has passed the upper age limit normally required for making a claim.

  • The qualifying period for unfair dismissal is currently one year, as set out in section 108 of the 1996 Act (as amended by SI 1436/1999).

  • The upper age limit is dealt with in section 109 of the 1996 Act.

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