P worked for D and had been a union member, shop steward and involved in strike disputes. When he applied for another job with D, he was refused on the grounds of his previous activities. He claimed that he had been refused employment for being a union member under s.137(1). EAT allowed his claim, interpreting the section as applying to union activities as well as mere membership (even though the section only mentions refusal on the grounds of ‘membership’ and not ‘past activity).
Mummery LJ: Even though elsewhere in the act (e.g. s.146 and 152 dealing with dismissals) deal with sacking for membership and sacking for activity separately, the concepts are not mutually exclusive and overlap. Membership can mean more than just being registered with the union. Since those who are more active in the union are more likely to be discriminated against, it would emasculate the act to exclude them from protection in terms of being refused a job.