Employment law plays a key role in the structure of British businesses, governing the relationship between employers and employees. It’s an important part of making sure that employees are treated fairly and that employers have some sort of recourse if employees don’t meet expectations. But what areas of employment relationships does it cover?
When employment contracts are drawn up they need to reflect what the law requires from the relationship between an employer and an employee. All employees need to have a contract and this should set out the rights employees have, as well as the obligations i.e. what is required in return for the salary and benefits. The terms of the contract will also cover what the employee’s responsibilities are and what the job will consist of. Finally, it will clarify employment conditions, so basics such as salary and whether there is a trial period.
When an employee is dismissed from a job there is a legal way of doing it and employment law defines how this should be carried out so that it is fair to both employer and employee. The law offers a way to take action in a situation where a dismissal has not been fair – when an employee is removed this should be as a result of a valid, justifiable reason and an employer must have acted reasonably in the circumstances, for example. There are also requirements such as demonstrating consistent behaviour towards all employees and ensuring full investigation of an issue before a dismissal takes place. The law protects both employers and employees by setting out a path to follow in these difficult circumstances.
Neither employers or employees enjoy the redundancy process but it is made much simpler by the fact that employment law provides a structure to follow that takes into account the needs of all the parties involved. For example, in certain circumstances the law may require an employer to go through the process of consulting with employees, there may be redundancy pay and a notice period. Because of the nature of redundancy and the damage it can do to a career, employment law is an important safeguard for employees – and a way for employers to protect themselves against legal claims.
While this is still a relatively new area, discrimination claims against employers have been rising since the arrival of the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Act protects employees from being discriminated against by employers on the basis of factors such as age, disability, race, maternity or pregnancy and sexual orientation. Penalties for discrimination against an employee can be high where an employer has treated an employee unfairly as a result of race, disability etc and the Equality Act is now an important part of employment law in the UK.
Employment law is a very wide area that covers everything from rights at work to the way people are treated by those they work with. It underpins every aspect of working and business in the UK and getting it wrong can be a costly business so it pays to be well informed.
If you think you’re a victim of any of the circumstances above, why not give Goodharts a call on 0191 206 4103 to see how we can help your employment law case.