Employment law

From Academic Kids

Employment Law is the branch of the legal profession that deals with employment related issues.

Employment Law exists in many countries, including the USA and the United Kingdom.

See also employment, law, labour law.

Employment Law in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

English Employment Law has developed rapidly over the past forty years, largely due to a historically strong UK Union movement. In its current form, it is largely a creature of Statute, (Acts of the UK Parliament) rather than Common Law.

Leading Employment Law Statutes include the Employment Rights Act 1996, the Employment Act 2002 and various Acts outlawing discrimination.

Unusually for UK legislation, the operation of the Employment Law system is broadly similiar across the whole of the UK.

After the employer's own processes, such as disciplinary hearings and internal appeals, have been exhausted, employment law cases usually start by one party to a dispute presenting a complaint to an Employment Tribunal (ET). These (as Industrial Tribunals) were set up under the 1964 Industrial Training Act, although they now have a substantially greater role and do count as courts. They have sometimes been referred to as industrial juries.

Generally speaking a tribunal will hear specific complaints about an aggrieved party being deprived of their rights, including (but not limited to) unfair dismissal. The tribunal will decide whether the responding party acted in a way that would be generally and typically seen as reasonable. Notice this is different from any opinion the tribunal itself might have about the reasonableness of any complained-of action.

Appeals from an Employment Tribunal can be made to the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) on one of three grounds (1) an error in law, (2) a finding of fact not supported by evidence, or (3) a finding of perversity.

An EAT decision can be appealed to the Court of Appeal, and after that (very rarely) to the House of Lords.

Employment Law in the United States

Employment law in the U.S. is largely goverened by the common law rule of "at will employment", that is, that an employment relationship can be terminated by either party at any time for any reason, including a good reason, a bad reason or no reason at all.

Exceptions to this rule can be found in various federal employment law statutes, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (and amendments), Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Family and Medical Leave Act 0f 1993, and numerous state laws with additional protections. The Fair Labor Standards Act regulates minimum wages and overtime pay for certain employees who work more than 40 hours in a work week.

There is no special employment tribunal in the U.S. Employment law cases are heard in state or federal courts, depending upon the issue, the size of the employer (the Civil Rights Act of 1964, for example, applies only to employers with 15 or more employees), and the litigation strategy of the plaintiff.

References

Employment Law, by Tom Harrison, published by Harrison Law Publishing/Business Education Publishers.

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