Freedom of Association definition

Freedom of association is a right to associate with any group they wish, including joining or leaving the group, and for the group to take collective action on behalf of its individual members.

Both an individual and a collective right, freedom of association is considered extremely important in industrial relations and is enshrined in practically all modern legal systems. Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Conventions 87 and 98 of the International Labour Organization, and the United States Bill of Rights, all contain provision for freedom of association.

While freedom of association refers to the majority of groups, it is typically used in an employment context to refer to trade unions and political parties. A related concept is freedom of assembly, the right to come together and discuss, debate, promote and champion a set of common interests and beliefs.


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