This is the first in a series of articles on employment law aimed at the public and specifically looking at the practice and procedure in the employment tribunal.
The aim of these posts is to offer employees a better insight into their rights at work and how they can (and should) enforce them –in the context of an economy stuck in the longest double-dip recession since the 1950s with high unemployment and greater job insecurity for many workers.
This first post will give a general overview of the nature of a worker’s rights in his job. These rights are a mix of common law and statute. For the sake of convenience, we’ll break them down into four (extremely broad) categories – a structure I’ll be following over the next few weeks:
The right not to be unfairly dismissed
The right not to be unfairly dismissed at work is found in the Employment Rights Act 1996, section 94. It is something that most workers, however vaguely, are familiar with. The aim of this particular right is to prevent employers from exercising their superior powers in the workplace by arbitrarily dismissing their employees. However, although the right not to be unfairly dismissed provides a means of redress for employees in particular circumstances it still leaves the employer with a wide degree of discretion as to whom they should employ.
The right(s) not to be discriminated against (or harassed or victimised) at work
In October 2010 the Equality Act 2010 came into force. The Equality Act sought to consolidate the diverse common law and legislation that preceded it into one simple statute. The aim of this was to demystify for the ordinary person the law related to the right not to be discriminated against at work and – in the main – it worked!
It is impossible to give an adequately concise description of your right not to be discriminated against in this relatively short post but we’ll give you a brief insight into the various main types of discrimination that can occur in the workplace:
Broadly put, you should not be subjected to the above types of discrimination, harassment or victimisation because of a protected characteristic that you (or, in limited circumstances, someone else) possess. Should your right not to be discriminated against be infringed you can seek to gain redress for this (generally in the form of compensation) in the Employment Tribunal.
Rights related to your wages
These rights related to, among other things:
Rights related to balancing your work and family life
These rights address such issues as your right to take maternity leave, paternity leave, adoption leave, and parental leave.
Chris Hadrill is a specialist employment law solicitor at Redmans Solicitors, Richmond. Redmans are JusticeGap associates.