UK Employment Law exists between workers, employers and trade unions. People at work in the UK benefit from a minimum charter of employment rights, which all employers and employees must abide by to legally employ or be employed in the UK. When you start working for a company you are often given an Employment Contract this states the terms in which you are employed and what you are expected to provide as an employee in return for compensation. This agreement is also covered by employment law.
Employment law is split into direct and indirect forms of discrimination in the UK and Europe. It is used for protecting employees against their employers via trade unions if necessary but for smaller companies it is employee v employer, usually.
Individual employment law also covers basic human rights in jurisdictions, such as minimum wage and living wage(higher than min wage and surmount to an individual being able to support a small family additionally), which must be followed by the employer to avoid fines and possible company closure.
Also child labour law is established albeit minimum wages for different ages lowest age being 13 for Part-time work, unless involved in television, theatre and modeling. Furthermore, upon the age of 16 (or 17 as of 2008 – legal leaving school age) children are then paid by PAYE. Only at 18 they are entitled to full adult employment rights, under the Employment Rights Act 1996.
Also notice is given a minimum of 1 week usually if the employee has worked for less than 2 years.
Casual workers are not entitled to permanent workers rights such as annual leave and sick pay, but do get paid more per hour. Also they are now entitled to parental leave and protection against unfair dismissal under the Fair Work laws.
Working hours are also set which can be extended but the usual maximum is 48 a week unless you opt out and 40 hours a week (8 a day for under 18’s).
Health and safety law is also regulated under the wing of employment law in some areas such as the he Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, which fulfills worker’s rights to work in a safe environment.
Discriminating someone directly is whereby someone is treated badly because of a difference in gender, race, sexual orientation, health problems etc. The test is looked upon objectively, meaning, would the average reasonable man deem the behavior unfair. The burden of proof is show factual evidence to prove discrimination and not intention to discriminate, such as in Shamoon v Chief Constable RUC whereby the claimant was a female police officer. It also was proved that there doesn’t need to be an actual comparator to the treatment just a hypothetical one.
Furthermore, the laws also protect people whom don’t actually possess a characteristic such as in the above, but people who are discriminated against because of an association with someone with the characteristic also. In Coleman v Attridge Law a disabled child was mothered by a woman employed by the company and she was not disabled but managed to plan via disability discrimination for abuse received by her employer for taking time off work to care for her child.
It is also illegal for employers also to discriminate against customers even if they are instructed to do so.
On the other hand, indirect discrimination by an employer doesn’t require the objective test but if a group of individuals are affected by the discrimination then it is sufficient .however if discrimination is linked to the employee then the employer discrimination is irrelevant.
The case of Ladele v Islington LBC a Christian woman was sacked for not registering gay people’s marriages. Her beliefs told her not to. Her appeal to the European court fell on deaf ears, as an employee of a governing body had to practice equality and in this case: register all legal marriages and civil partnerships.
On the contrary, wearing a Christian cross was deemed reasonable under the ‘proportionality test’, and thus, it was an indirectly discriminatory for it to be removed under British Airways instruction, although it is not a requirement for a Christian to wear one. Under EU human rights law: (ECHR art.9) It is illegal to interfere with a person’s religious beliefs.
Also numbers (statistics) of people disadvantaged also is used to determine whether to apply a objective test or not. Frau Weber von Hertz in Bilka-Kaufhaus GmbH v Weber von Hartz claimed women were disadvantaged by the pension arrangement that only full time workers were entitled to a pension. This meant that part timers were missing out and the majority of those were women, 72% in fact. Obviously women have a much more likely chance to be part-time due to maternity and child care. Women were deemed to be at a disadvantage under an objective test, albeit by using statistics as a tool to widen the scope of indirect discrimination thus making it more valid in protecting people’s rights in the workplace.
This was also the case in R (Seymour-Smith) v Sec. of State for Employment whereby there was a 4-8% gap between woman and men whom stay on for 2 years, as opposed to one year, currently, so they can qualify for unfair dismissal. Again women have maternity and child care commitments so 2 years simply wasn’t enough time in order to be qualified for over 1 in 20 woman therefore they could be dismissed unfairly without protection. The house of Lords proclaimed the statistical gap was large enough and thus the law changed.
The remedial process upon winning a claim will be compensation albeit fair by means of how much money the employee lost and enough money to cover the expense of finding a new job and if the detriment was emotional and or psychological then further remuneration in the form of compensation or damages will be available to the claimee.