A blacklisted worker who was denied justice because he was an agency worker has been told his human rights may have been violated and has been granted leave to appeal. An Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) this week decided that construction giant Carillion must face human rights claims over its role in the construction industry blacklisting scandal.
Justice Singh ordered that a High Court judge should hear Dave Smith’s EAT case.
The former site engineer from Essex was repeatedly dismissed and refused work once his name appeared on the illegal blacklist after he had raised concerns about asbestos, poor toilet facilities and contaminated waste on building sites controlled by companies within the Carillion Group. An employment tribunal in January 2012 found he had been blacklisted for his activities as a trade union safety rep, but threw the case out despite accepting there had been a “genuine injustice” because he was not directly employed, but supplied through an employment agency.
At this week’s hearing, citing the findings of the original tribunal, lawyers acting for Dave Smith argued: “There can be no doubt that Articles 8 and 11 [of the European Convention on Human Rights] were engaged on the basis of the facts found by the tribunal. Covert collection of private data has been held to contravenes Article 8(1); as has dismissal causing damage to an employee’s reputation. Article 11(1) requires the State to protect ‘everyone’ effectively against discrimination for participating in trade union activity.”
Commenting after Justice Singh’s ruling, Dave Smith said: “Blacklisted workers have always argued that we have been the victims of a major human rights conspiracy. It’s time that Carillion and the other multinationals who deliberately set out to ruin our working lives to face justice. A judge has finally decided that these human rights violations need to be answered in court. This is a great decision – I am grinning like a raver.”
Invoices and salesbook entries show that Carillion paid £37,814.72 to covert blacklisting group The Consulting Association between 1999 and 2006 and its managers were still attending meetings as late as 2008.
The firm is scheduled to appear before the Scottish Affairs select committee investigation into blacklisting.