BNP bus driver wins battle against sacking over politics
The fight has seen plenty of u-turns by various courts, and now the European Court of Human Rights has found in his favour.
SackedArthur Redfearn, 56, was sacked from his job driving a bus in Bradford, West Yorkshire, where he drove largely Asian clients with learning disabilities. He had worked for Serco as a driver from December 2003 until June 2004.
At the point he was let go, he had just been elected as a local councillor for the BNP, and there had been complaints about his politics from other employees.
RaceHe took legal action immediately. That August he made a claim on the grounds of race discrimination, but that was dismissed by an employment tribunal. It ruled that his employment could cause anxiety among his passengers, that vehicles could come under attack from opponents of the BNP - and that there were therefore health and safety grounds for his dismissal.
He appealed the following July, and successfully argued that his employers could have considered alternatives to sacking him.
Then Serco appealed the following May, and the court found in their favour - on the grounds that Redfearn's complaint had been political rather than racial - which is not regulated by discrimination legislation.
Human RightsRedfearn then turned to the European Convention on Human Rights, and argued under Article 11 that he had been discriminated against because of his political affiliation. The judges agreed 4-3 that he had.
Its judgement stated: "The Court was struck by the fact that he had been summarily dismissed following complaints about problems which had never actually occurred, without any apparent consideration being given to the possibility of transferring him to a non-customer facing role."
It added: "A legal system which allowed dismissal from employment solely on account of an employee's membership of a political party carried with it the potential for abuse and was therefore deficient."
BNP leader Nick Griffin (pictured) celebrated on Twitter, saying: "HUGE VICTORY! Human Rights Court in Strasbourg rules sacking of BNP councillor as bus driver was illegal. Congrats to Arthur Redfearn."
He subsequently tweeted: "Way now clear for all others similarly treated to claim well-deserved compensation. Great day for true democracy!"
But do you agree? Let us know in the comments.