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Unit information: Individual Employment Rights in 2021/22

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 Dr. Collins
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

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. Not every area of individual employment law is covered – an impossible task – so the focus is on the subjects covered in the seminars. The aim throughout is to set employment law in its wider social, economic and political context.

We begin by looking at current policy issues in employment law, before examining the legal treatment of agency workers and those on zero hours contracts. We consider the contractual nature of employment, the rights and duties imposed on each party, and how terms can be varied. The unit deals with the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 and the regulation of working time as examples of statutory regulation of work. Other areas explored are the termination of employment; statutory protections arising on redundancies, reorganisations and transfers of undertakings; how human rights affect the working relationship. Discrimination in the field of work is dealt with in detail, looking at discrimination owing to sex, race and other protected characteristics (e.g. religious discrimination and its intersection with sexual orientation discrimination). Finally we will examine the topical issue of how the employment tribunal system, central to how most employment rights are enforced, operates.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit a successful student is expected to be able to summarise, explain and engage critically with legal and policy developments affecting the rights of the individual employee or worker. Students should be able to demonstrate knowledge of, and the ability to apply and analyse critically the following areas:

  • Recent and current policies on employment law
  • employment and worker status
  • the legal treatment of agency workers and those on zero hours contracts
  • the contract of employment, and how terms may be varied
  • collective bargaining
  • statutory intervention in wages and working time
  • the law relating to dismissals
  • regulation of redundancies, reorganisations and transfers of undertakings
  • how international human rights instruments affect UK employment law
  • equality and anti-discrimination law in the work sphere in the UK
  • how the tribunal system upholds rights, and the effect of recent reforms.

Students should conduct and demonstrate their own independent reading and research on at least some of these topics. As well as analysing and applying the law to factual scenarios for the purpose of problems, students should be able to evaluate the policies behind, and effects of, individual employment rights in terms of their implications for workers, employers, the government and the wider society.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a variety of asynchronous and synchronous activities

Assessment Information

2 x summative assessments: 1x coursework and 1 x Timed Open Book Assessment with a specified word count

The assessment will assess all of the intended learning outcomes for this unit.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. LAWDM0021).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.