Trade union membership rights

Tribunal claims: discrimination regarding trade union activities and services


Individuals who think that any of their rights (as in rights of workers relating to trade union activities and services) have been infringed can complain to an industrial tribunal.

If an employee has been dismissed - including cases where they have been dismissed on grounds of redundancy - their complaint is one of unfair dismissal.

If employees or other workers consider that they have been subjected to a detriment by an act, or deliberate failure to act, by their employer, their complaint is one of detriment.

If employees or other workers consider that you have made an unlawful inducement relating to trade union activities and services, their complaint is one of unlawful inducement.


The compensatory awards for the claims in relation to dismissal and detriment vary. A tribunal can make an award to an individual for claims of unlawful inducements in relation to trade union membership/non-membership, activities or collective bargaining. For more information, see current tribunal and arbitration compensation limits.

Note that in cases where an employee or other worker makes a related complaint to the tribunal concerning detriment, and the tribunal upholds that complaint, the tribunal may award compensation for the detriment suffered.

In deciding the amount of such compensation, a tribunal may not make a reduction on the ground that a complainant:

  • contributed to their loss by accepting or not accepting an unlawful inducement
  • has received or is entitled to an award on the grounds that an unlawful inducement has been made to them

Status of contractual changes resulting from unlawful inducements

If an employee or other worker accepts an unlawful inducement, but any consequent agreement by them to vary their terms and conditions has not yet been effected, the agreement to vary the terms and conditions is not enforceable.

Also, in such circumstances, the employer cannot recover any cash paid or other benefits conferred on the employee or worker concerned.

However, in cases where the agreed variation of terms and conditions has been effected, those variations are enforceable.