Employment Law

Module code: M3012
Level 6
30 credits in autumn & spring teaching
Teaching method: Seminar, Lecture
Assessment modes: Open examination, Essay

Employment Law is one of the fastest growing areas of law and practice: the volume of both case law and legislation is considerable.

The election of a different political party to government inevitably brings new employment legislation in its wake and the current government is producing fairly radical proposals for change.

It is against this backdrop that the module seeks to examine and explore both the individual contract of employment and the three-way relationship involving employers, employees and trades unions.

The module looks at the dramatic changes in working arrangements, such as the growing participation and influence of women in the workforce, coupled with the very varied patterns of work (such as part-time/casuals/agency/flexible working).

We also look at the employee/self-employed distinction, the employment contract and its sources - with particular reference to implied terms such as mutual trust and confidence - and also the controversial expansion of employers' liability to encompass psychiatric harm caused by stress at work.

Protection of wages and limitations on working hours, together with 'family-friendly' entitlements covering maternity, paternity, adoptive and parental issues, are also examined. Topics of current interest which feature in the module are 'whistleblowing', restraint of trade covenants and references.

Thereafter, the module addresses termination of employment, in particular wrongful and unfair dismissal, redundancy and transfers.

Finally, we examine the important and expanding subject of discrimination and equality law in some detail, including sex, religion or belief, race, disability and age.

We also examine equal pay issues in this section of the module.

Overall, the aim is to make the module informative, relevant and stimulating by combining the academic aspects of employment law with an appreciation of current developments and proposals in this dynamic area of law which affects all our lives.

To keep you abreast of the latest developments, particularly in relation to the most substantial second term topic of discrimination and equality law, separate handbooks are issued at the start of each main teaching term.

Module learning outcomes

  • Identify and explain the basic principles of employment law in the United Kingdom
  • Recognise and explain the significance of EU law in this area
  • Effectively apply the knowledge and understanding gained to the solution of problems and present reasoned argument on doubtful or controversial points
  • Undertake and demonstrate effective independent research of an issue in employment law
  • Write about selected issues in employment law in a coherent and informed way