Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting a series of articles that cover all areas of your UK employment rights.
The first of this series by Philip Landau, will cover contracts of employment and discrimination.
By Philip Landau, employment lawyer and partner at Landau Zeffertt Weir Solicitors
Contracts of Employment
There is no legal requirement for your employer to provide you with a written employment contract. Your employer must, however, provide you with a written statement of employment terms within two months of your start date. This written statement should include details such as remuneration, terms and conditions regarding working hours, holiday pay, sick pay, notice periods etc.
The law implies duties into employment contracts. You as an employee are bound to provide faithful service to your employer, obey reasonable orders and exercise reasonable skill and care. In return, an employer has a duty to provide work and pay wages accordingly, provide a safe system of work and maintain the relationship of trust and confidence which exists between employer and employee.
Collective agreements are relatively rare. They tend to be most used in the public sector, or in industries such as manufacturing where unions are heavily utilised.
If your employer wants to change your contractual terms, they generally will need to do so by mutual agreement.
Discrimination is governed by The Equality Act 2010. This Act prohibits discrimination on the grounds such as age, sex, disability, pregnancy, race and religion. This is not an exhaustive list.
There are two types of discrimination, direct and indirect. Direct discrimination occurs when you are treated less favorably than someone else because of e.g. your sex and indirect discrimination is where a provision or practice is applied across the board which disadvantages e.g. women more than men. There is generally no defence to direct discrimination unless for instance it is an occupational requirement to be male (e.g. for an acting role). When it comes to indirect discrimination, an employer may have a defence that this is a requirement of the business (e.g. there have been cases where women are required to wear skirts to work which have been upheld because there is a reciprocal obligation on men to wear shirts and ties).
Unlike a claim for unfair dismissal (please see below), discrimination does not require a minimum qualifying period of employment. In fact, you can make a discrimination claims even as a prospective candidate. You have 3 months less one day from the alleged discriminatory act complained of to bring a discrimination claim at Tribunal.
Harassment is also unlawful under the Equality Act. This covers situations were an employer engages in conduct which creates an intimidating and degrading atmosphere for you in the workplace.
Click here for further information on discrimination
Need more advice?
Philip Landau who is an employment law solicitor and partner at London firm Landau Zeffertt Weir Solicitors is pleased to give JustEngineers.net users a free initial consultation on any UK employment matter.
If you have a specific enquiry or require further information in relation to your employment law rights, email Philip at email@example.com or call him on 020 7357 9494.
The information and any commentary on the law on this web site is provided free of charge for information purposes only. Every reasonable effort is made to make the information and commentary accurate and up to date, but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying upon it, is assumed by either Jobsite or Landau Zeffertt Weir. The information and commentary does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice to any person on a specific case or matter. You are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal advice from a solicitor about your case or matter and not to rely on the information or comments on this site.