Human Rights Act launched

The Human Rights Act came into force this week amid fears that unfair dismissal cases would be the first to be hit by the new legislation.

In unfair dismissal cases where the legal test is the “reasonableness” of the employer, the tribunal or court will have to make sure the employer respected the claimant’s human rights in the run-up to dismissal (News, 26 September).

Gillian Doughty, personnel co-ordinator of plastic packaging company RPC Containers said: “If an unfair dismissal claim fails then the Human Rights Act is another avenue and another piece of legislation under which to pursue a claim.”

And Scottish employers who had the Convention on Human Rights incorporated into legislation last year have found that unfair dismissal cases are increasingly likely to have a human rights element.

But in the first year 587 cases were brought and of these only 17 were successful. Dave Mackintosh, chair of the CIPD’s north of Scotland and Islands branch, said: “Human rights has not been highlighted in meetings as anything very significant.”

The Human Rights Act has also been blamed for delays on implementing the alternative arbitration scheme to tribunals

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