BNP list provokes anger, but employers warned not to overreact

Employers have been warned against knee-jerk reactions against employees recently outed as members of the BNP.

Earlier this week a leaked membership list was published online, which includes police officers – who are banned from being in the BNP – as well as teachers and soldiers. The list includes the names, addresses, telephone numbers and jobs of around 12,000 people.

Several members of the far-right party claim that disclosure of their membership has left them fearing a backlash at work with the possibility of disciplinary action being taken against them.

But Chris Mordue, employment partner at law Pinsent Masons, warned employers that simply taking disciplinary action was not straightforward.

“It will very much depend on the individual employer because, particularly for public sector organisations who are subject to positive duties to promote equality of opportunity and race relations, simple membership of the BNP may be a significant enough concern for them to feel that they need to act and take disciplinary action or dismiss the employee concerned.

“Employers who have employees on this list are going to be asked very publicly what they intend to do about it. We counsel against a knee-jerk response. That is certainly not saying that employers should not take action, it is just that they need to think through all of the very complex legal issues before they do act.”

The list includes teachers, doctors, nurses and members of the Armed Forces, and while there is no ban on many of those professions joining the BNP, the organisation’s anti-immigration policies are seen by some organisations as incompatible with front-line public service.

Watch Video: Chris Mordue, employment lawyer and partner with Pinsent Masons is asked whether simply being named on the list as a member of the BNP could be grounds for taking some form of disciplinary action against that employee.

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