It is highly probable that anyone who had not given a great deal of thought to the concept of human rights and how they differ from other rights will nevertheless be aware that the idea has relevance in law as well as morality. They most probably would also be aware that the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights exists, created in the aftermath of the Second World War. They will almost certainly know that the Human Rights Act 1998 gave effect to the European Convention on Human Rights (or the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) which was adopted by the Council of Europe in 1950, and came into force in 1953. Its role was to protect individuals’ rights against infringement by states.1 They might know that the Equality Act 2006 created the Commission on Equality and Human Rights to underpin its work in the United Kingdom. But what the idea of human rights is, and what its relationship with domestic employment law amounts to, will probably be issues that are much less clear in the mind of the interested observer. It is to this, therefore, that I first turn.
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