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JPP Law Blog

Jet2 loses appeal over pilot ‘rejected for trade union activity’

The airline Jet2 has lost its appeal against an Employment Tribunal ruling that it rejected a job application from a pilot because of his union activity.

The pilot, Mr J Denby, who is a member of the British pilots' trade union, began working for the airline in 2005.

In 2009, he suggested to the airline's chairman that the union should play a more active role in representing its pilots, but the chairman did not want the union involved.

Mr Denby left the airline in 2011, but applied to return in 2014. When his application was unsuccessful, he claimed that the airline had refused him employment because of his trade union membership.

The tribunal found that the refusal had been the chairman's decision alone and that his sole reason was the pilot's earlier participation in trade union activities, which related to his union membership.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has upheld that decision. It held that the reason for the chairman's refusal was not the mere fact of the pilot's union membership but because he had taken part in the activities of that union in actively advocating and promoting its role as representing the interests of the pilots.

The pilot had established the history necessary to his claim and the tribunal was entitled to find that his attempt to introduce the union into the workplace had angered the chairman to such an extent that he continued to feel animosity towards him years later.

Accordingly, the refusal of employment related to the pilot's trade union membership and so there had been a breach of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

For further advice on any of the issues raised in this article, or for employment law advice more generally, please contact JPP Law on 020 3468 3064 or email

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