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Chapter

Cover Smith & Wood's Employment Law

6. Termination of the employment contract at common law  

This chapter looks at termination of employment at common law, and at the breach of employment contract action known as ‘wrongful dismissal’. It first discusses ways in which the contract might untypically end by operation of law rather than the ‘dismissal’ on which many employee rights rest. The chapter then considers the right of either party to terminate most contracts by giving notice—a major feature of UK employment law—and the ability of the employer to dismiss summarily for gross misconduct. It concludes with a detailed analysis of the principal remedy for an employee at common law—the action for wrongful dismissal—which is completely separate and different from statutory unfair dismissal despite an unfortunate tendency for the press to treat them as interchangeable.

Chapter

Cover Smith & Wood's Employment Law

6. Termination of the employment contract at common law  

Ian Smith, Owen Warnock, and Gemma Mitchell

This chapter looks at termination of employment at common law, and at the breach of employment contract action known as ‘wrongful dismissal’. It first discusses ways in which the contract might untypically end by operation of law rather than the ‘dismissal’ on which many employee rights rest. The chapter then considers the right of either party to terminate most contracts by giving notice—a major feature of UK employment law—and the ability of the employer to dismiss summarily for gross misconduct. It concludes with a detailed analysis of the principal remedy for an employee at common law—the action for wrongful dismissal—which is completely separate and different from statutory unfair dismissal, despite an unfortunate tendency for the press to treat them as interchangeable.

Chapter

Cover Card & James' Business Law

28. The termination of employment  

This chapter examines the procedures and the obligations of employers in relation to the termination of employment. It discusses the concept of dismissal and the different types of dismissal. These include termination upon notice, termination upon expiry of a limited-term contract, summary dismissal, constructive dismissal, wrongful dismissal, and unfair dismissal. Each of these forms of dismissal is discussed in detail, including an examination of the requirements for establishing dismissal and the damages that can be awarded for dismissal in breach of the law. Finally, the chapter discusses when a worker is entitled to receive redundancy pay and how such pay is assessed.

Chapter

Cover Employment Law

9. Wrongful and constructive dismissal  

This chapter begins with an exploration of wrongful dismissal law, which has for many decades provided employees who are dismissed in breach of their contracts with the opportunity to apply to a court for damages. In recent decades wrongful dismissal has been superseded to an extent by unfair dismissal law, which provides a more satisfactory remedy for most who are unlawfully dismissed. But there are circumstances in which the longer-established law continues to play a role, and this is the focus of the first part of the chapter. It then moves on to look at constructive dismissal law, which appears to become more significant each year as precedents are set and more people become aware of the possibilities it offers when they resign from their jobs as a direct result of suffering unacceptable treatment from their employers.

Chapter

Cover Business Law

21. Statutory Regulation of Dismissals  

This chapter considers the termination of employment, and how it is governed by statutory measures—in cases of unfair dismissal—and the common law—in cases of wrongful dismissal. Each of these provisions outline important factors when the contract is to be ended. Being aware of the procedures involved in each of these areas of law will ensure terminations can take effect without unnecessary recourse to court or tribunal action, saving time and money. In dismissing an employee, the law provides for the correct procedure to be adopted, the potentially fair reasons that justify a dismissal, along with automatically unfair reasons to dismiss an employee. Disregarding these may lead to claims for unfair dismissal, the defence of which can be expensive for employers.

Chapter

Cover Employment Law Concentrate

8. Variation, breach, and termination of employment  

Each Concentrate revision guide is packed with essential information, key cases, revision tips, exam Q&As, and more. Concentrates show you what to expect in a law exam, what examiners are looking for, and how to achieve extra marks. This chapter discusses variations of terms and conditions of employment. Theoretically, neither employer nor employee can unilaterally alter the terms and conditions of employment. A unilateral variation that is not accepted will constitute a breach and, if serious, could amount to a repudiation of the contract. A repudiation does not automatically terminate a contract of employment. In order to justify summary dismissal, the employee must be in breach of an important express or implied term of the contract.

Book

Cover Business Law Concentrate
Each Concentrate revision guide is packed with essential information, key cases, revision tips, exam Q&As, and more. Concentrates show you what to expect in a law exam, what examiners are looking for, and how to achieve extra marks. Business Law Concentrate considers all the essential issues relating to business law in the English legal system, including EU law and the potential implications of Brexit. The first half of the book looks at contracts in terms of mistake, misrepresentation, duress, undue influence, contractual terms, consumer protection, and remedies for breach. The next few chapters examine employment and focus on issues including wrongful dismissal, unfair dismissal, redundancy, equal pay claims, and anti-discrimination. The last part considers company law, intellectual property law, and changes to data protection. This updated edition includes important cases in contract law and torts law, employment law, and intellectual property law, including cases from the Supreme Court, The Court of Justice of the European Union, and the Employment Appeal Tribunal. Recent legislation and its effects in these jurisdictions of law are also covered in detail.

Book

Cover Employment Law Concentrate
Each Concentrate revision guide is packed with essential information, key cases, revision tips, exam Q&As, and more. Concentrates show you what to expect in a law exam, what examiners are looking for, and how to achieve extra marks. Employment Law Concentrate helps to consolidate knowledge in this area of law. This seventh edition includes updates on employment law, including further coverage of the employment status, written particulars, restraint of trade, and equal pay. The book includes discussion of recent cases, including Supreme Court ones, and forthcoming amendments to the law are noted where appropriate. The volume also looks at implied terms, discrimination, parental rights, working time, and types of breach of employment contracts and termination of employment contracts. Finally, the text looks at dismissal issues (including both wrongful and unfair dismissal), redundancy, and trade unions. The chapter on trade unions has been transferred to online-only content, available in the online resources for this book.

Chapter

Cover Selwyn's Law of Employment

16. Wrongful Dismissal  

Under the law which existed prior to 1971, an employer was entitled to dismiss an employee for any reason or no reason at all. In 1971 the Industrial Relations Act created the right for many employees not to be unfairly dismissed, and though that Act was repealed, the relevant provisions were substantially re-enacted in the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974, and further changes were made by the Employment Protection Act 1975. The Employment Rights Act 1996 (as amended) contains most of the relevant statutory provisions currently in force. This chapter discusses the ways in which wrongful dismissal may occur, collateral contracts, summary dismissal, and employment law remedies.

Chapter

Cover Business Law

20. Ending Employment Contracts at Common Law; and Duties to Redundant and Transferring Staff  

This chapter identifies the remedy for the termination of contracts of employment through the common law claim of wrongful dismissal. It addresses situations of redundancy, and the rights of individuals and obligations on employers when the business is transferred to a new owner. Each of these measures offer protection to employees, and employers should understand the nature of these rights, the qualifications necessary for each mechanism, and the remedies available, to ensure they select the most appropriate mechanism to bring the employment relationship to an end. Before the 1960s, contracts of employment were largely dealt with by the ‘normal’ rules of contract law and were often heard by courts that hear contractual disputes. It is important to be aware of the mechanisms that will enable termination of the employment relationship without transgressing the law in order to maintain good working relations.

Chapter

Cover Employment Law in Context

15. Wrongful Dismissal  

This chapter examines the legal consequences where an employer lawfully or unlawfully terminates the contract of employment. It considers the competing elective theory of termination and automatic theory of termination, along with statutory intervention in the form of minimum periods of notice set out in section 86 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. Stress is placed on the importance of using the correct terminology in this area of the law and bilateral, unilateral, and non-lateral terminations are defined. Further discussion covers suspension of contract and the conduct of disciplinary hearings. Finally, the remedies available to employees in the case of a wrongful dismissal are addressed, including the circumstances in which a claim for damages is likely to be successful.