Employment Law Explained

Category Archives: Data Protection

Truly I can see the Future

Truly I can see the future. A few weeks ago I wrote on this blog about a website run by Gordon Turner and Damien McCarthy, the two employment lawyers who set up www.serial-litigants.com, designed to keep a check on those claimants who repeatedly bring claims against different employers (or potential employers) for the same thing – usually discrimination claims.  I welcomed the scheme but thought that it might hit problems with the Data Protection Act, which governs what information can be held on people and how it can be used.  Then, lo and behold, I received this email from Gordon Turner a few days ago;

Serial Litigants beware!

Take a look at this article from The Daily Telegraph.  A good idea in principle but I’m wondering about the Data Protection issues involved, as well as the subsequent satellite litigation that would undoubtedly result.  Does anyone remember the blacklist of “difficult” employees compiled by The Consulting Association (see my previous post on the subject here)?  Or the National Staff Dismissal Register (see here) ? 

Blacklists to be blacklisted?

I’ve written before about the National Staff Dismissal Register (NSDR) in the Retail Sector and the blacklist published by The Consulting Association (TCA) in the construction industry.  The former is a joint venture between Action Against Business Crime (a consortium formed between leading retailers and the Home Office), the latter a database compiled by a private company that then sold details to about 40 leading construction companies.  News comes this week that the government is planning to introduce regulations to proscribe blacklists used by companies to identify Trade Union members and thus not employ them.  The TCA blacklist appears to have identified trade union members as trouble – e.g “ex shop steward definite problems” and similar.  The government thinks, rightly, that potential employees should not be discriminated against because of their Trade Union membership.

A rant about Data Protection

The recent uproar over the revelation that a company called The Consulting Association (TCA) maintained a blacklist of “problem” employees which it then passed on to construction companies, reminded me of the National Staff Dismissal Register set up in the retail industry last year and which I wrote about in these pages last October.  In that case Action Against Business Crime (AABC), a consortium formed between the Home Office (!!!)  and the British Retail Consortium, set up a scheme to share information between potential employers of details of employees dismissed for offences of dishonesty, but not convicted in the criminal courts of wrongdoing.  In other words if an employer dismissed an employee for theft or fraud they would then place that person’s details on the NSDR and thus make it much harder for them to get alternative work, at least within the retail sector.  At the time it was claimed that this didn’t breach the Data Protection Act (DPA), which claim I still find rather surprising.

The National Staff Dismissal Register

A rather alarming new initiative was reported last week: the creation of the National Staff Dismissal Register, by an organisation called Action Against Business Crime (AABC), a consortium formed between the Home office and the British Retail Consortium.  It is a database for employers to share details on those staff dismissed (but not necessarily convicted in the criminal courts) for offences of dishonesty; e.g. theft, forgery, damage to company property and so on. According to the AABC’s own press release the register seeks to create a central register to cover those employees not convicted or cautioned for criminal offences. It appears that it is aimed at the retail industry at the moment, although it will almost certainly spread if successful.  It will go live this month.  Apparently it is not in contravention of the Data Protection Act.