nick venedi

Thursday, 5 March 2009

What is Employment Law? (edited by Nick Venedi)

Employment Law emanates (In the first instance) from several Acts of Parliament and subsequent amendments (these can be quite frequent) The Acts of Parliament set the framework and prescribe the rights and obligations but the courts then have to go and interpret what the Law means. When an Employment Tribunal (and more significantly an Employment Appeals Tribunal) makes a judgement that decision creates a legal precedent and is referred to in all future cases (case law). This is called the 'doctrine of precedent' and all judgements must be studied and examined before a new case is brought to a Tribunal. A defence should always take into account what decisions have been made in similar cases (following an assessment) This will strengthen a case and save time.

There are a number of significant Acts of Parliament that set the framework. The Trades Union Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 is, for example, one such Act that describes the legal framework within which the relationship between employer and employee (and the Trades Unions) should be regulated. This specific Act gives Trades Unions, and members of staff who wish to be members, certain rights. Another Significant Act is the Employment Rights Act of 1996 (and subsequent amendments) others include the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (and subsequent amendments) or the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995.

The most important thing to remember with this broad and generalised introduction to Employment Law and how it works is that whilst Parliament and the European Union ( through Directives) set the framework and prescribe conditions, preconditions, obligations and rules, decisions are made by Employment Tribunals who use case law to determine how to interpret previous decisions and how these decisions can be applied to the case in question. I have rarely seen 2 cases go to Tribunal that were exact or identical and I have 21 years experience in representing people.

As a rule you must make sure that you get good advise (Trades Union or legal practitioner) always ensuring that any case you may wish to submit is assessed carefully and that previous decisions are taken into account.

Nick Venedi

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