Employment law

Introduction to Employment Law

This course is designed as a general introduction to employment law for stewards with little experience of employment law and no previous training in employment law beyond what is covered in the general stewards’ induction course.

Employment law is an enormous and complex subject. This introductory course is designed to give participants an overview and general feel for how employment law works, and areas where it is likely to apply. It is not possible to deal with any one subject in full detail. The course focuses on areas most likely to arise with UNISON members, i.e. unfair dismissal, redundancy and discrimination. It does not deal with collective employment rights, e.g. trade union recognition and consultation.

This is a prerequisite for anyone wishing to do any of the advanced employment law courses.

Disability Discrimination Law

This one-day course introduces:

  • the Equality Act and the definition of disability
  • the duty to make reasonable adjustments
  • tribunals and time limits

The law is only one option of a range of steps which activists may take to challenge disability discrimination at work and improve the rights of disabled members. The purpose of the course is not to explore awareness or policy issues as such, but to provide an introduction to how the law works in this area.

Race and Sex Discrimination Law

This one-day course explores race and sex discrimination law by examining case studies. It introduces:

  • concepts of direct discrimination, indirect discrimination and victimisation
  • discrimination time limits
  • the Public Sector Equality Duty

The law is only one option of a range of steps activists may take to challenge race and sex discrimination in the workplace. The purpose of this course is not to explore awareness or policy issues as such, but to provide an introduction to how the law works in this area.

Contracts of Employment

This one-day course is designed to give participants an overview and general feel for how contract law works. It explores topics including:

  • what contracts of employment are and why they matter
  • contract terms
  • collective agreements
  • wrongful dismissal
  • changing a contract
  • constructive dismissal
  • fixed term contracts and part time contracts

Unfair Dismissals

This one-day course uses case studies to explore various types of unfair dismissal case and examines:

  • conduct
  • consistency
  • capability
  • disciplinary policies
  • tribunals and time limits

Work/Life Balance

This course introduces the law around maternity and family-based rights to leave. Many employers are starting to look at flexibility policies available to all employees. However, the law is more limited in this respect and says little outside the family-related arena. The course therefore shows the limitations of what is available and may provide ideas for further negotiation.

It covers:

  • pregnancy
  • maternity, adoption, and paternity leave
  • dependent leave
  • flexible working

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