A recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights has found the UK to be in breach of the right to freedom of association. The case of Redfearn v United Kingdom concerned the dismissal of a mini-bus driver after he was elected as a British National Party councillor. The Court held that the UK was in breach of Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights for failing to provide a remedy because UK law does not extend specific protection to employees dismissed on the grounds of their political beliefs or affiliation.
Whilst on the face of it this decision relates to an individual's right to freedom of association, it may have wider implications for employers. Contrary to existing caselaw and guidance, employees may now be protected from dismissal or discrimination on grounds of their political beliefs.