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Unit information: Individual Employment Rights in 2016/17

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Unit name Individual Employment Rights
Unit code LAWDM0021
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Ford
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit deals with the English law governing the individual employee's relationship with his or her employer, although comparisons will be made with other jurisdictions where appropriate. The aim throughout is to set employment law in its wider social, economic and political context. Therefore the unit begins by considering the nature of employment in the 21st Century. It evaluates the contractual nature of employment and the rights and duties imposed on each party. It considers statutory intervention, e.g. Human Rights Act 1998, National Minimum Wage Act 1998 and its impact upon managerial prerogative. The role of EU legislation particularly with regard to working time, equal pay and sex discrimination is also addressed. The unit further examines the termination of employment, statutory remedies and the protection arising on redundancy and on the transfer of an undertaking.

Intended learning outcomes

Students are expected to engage critically with legal developments affecting the rights of the individual employee or worker. Students should be able to demonstrate their awareness of:

  • key developments regarding the contract of employment,
  • collective bargaining,
  • statutory intervention,
  • EU regulation and international human rights instruments.

In so doing, students will be expected display their knowledge of and own analytical engagement with:

  • the express and implied contractual obligations of employers and employees,
  • the law governing wages and working time,
  • the law relating to dismissals (including that upon transfers and redundancies),
  • the influence of human rights law on industrial relations,
  • and equality law.

They should be able to display their own independent reading and research on at least some of these topics. Students should be able to evaluate, on various bases (such as economic and rights-based) the desirability of certain individual employment rights in terms of their implications for workers, employers, and government.

Teaching details

This unit is taught by way of 20 lectures (approx.), 10 two-hour seminars and 2 assessment preparation and feedback sessions. Lectures are delivered jointly to students on the related undergraduate unit.

Assessment Details

Summative: a 2000 word essay (33%) will assess the candidate's ability to research a topic within the scope of this unit. The remaining Intended Learning Outcomes will be assessed in a 3 hour written examination (67%). Both assessments will assess all of the Intended Learning Outcomes for this unit in the context of topics selected by the examiners.

Formative: students should do one formative assessment (this will usually be 1 x 1500 word essay).

Reading and References

The most recent editions of:

  • Deakin and Morris, Labour Law, (Hart Publishing).
  • Collins, Ewing and McColgan, Labour Law (Cambridge University Press)
  • Blackstone’s Statutes on Employment Law (Oxford University Press)