module specification

BL5054 - Essentials of Employment Law (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Essentials of Employment Law
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 150
105 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
In-Course Test 40%   In-class assessment (40 minutes)
Coursework 60%   Problem based essay 2,500 words
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester City Friday Afternoon

Module summary

This module provides students with an in-depth knowledge of the law affecting the employment relationship.  There is a specific focus on various aspects of discrimination and employment protection law and the influence of European Law will also be explored in this context.  The module also provides an opportunity to examine unfair dismissal law as an increasingly important issue of employment law.
Prior learning: Introduction to Employment Law (BL4002) or  Level 4 business law module or equivalent
Barred combinations: BL5003

Prior learning requirements

Introduction to Employment Law (BL4002)  or Level 4 business law module or equivalent

Module aims

The specific aims of the module are:

1. To provide knowledge of the legal framework of discrimination, employment protection and unfair dismissal law and their importance in the business context.  With this knowledge students will be able to articulate clearly the legal issues and communicate them effectively;

2. To develop an understanding of the political and social influences which affect the introduction and implementation of employment law, including European influences. Students will be able to discuss and assess the links between law, politics and business and understand the impact of public policy;

3. To develop an ability to identify legal problems in an employment context and to propose solutions applying legal principles;

4. To develop techniques which will enable students to deal with legal problems in an employment context, and to develop an analytical approach to such problems;

5. To develop an understanding of the ways in which the law seeks to protect disadvantaged groups in the employment context and to develop a critical awareness of the deficiencies of the law in this area;

6. To encourage an interest in current employment issues and where appropriate to link this to employability and students’ future career direction.

This module will develop the following skills: academic reading, researching, application of knowledge, academic writing, note-taking, communicating and presenting orally and in writing, critical thinking and writing, problem solving and decision making, self assessment, collaborating and working with others and commercial awareness.


Indicative content is indicated below and will enable achievement of the learning outcomes.

1. Introduction to discrimination, employment protection and unfair dismissal law including business context, relevant institutions and impact of European Law revisited;

2. Theories of discrimination law including equal opportunities and diversity concepts;

3. Introduction to discrimination law concepts – direct and indirect discrimination;

4. Substantive discrimination law including sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion and belief, age;

5. Additional discrimination law concepts including harassment and victimisation, institutional racism;

6. Discrimination law remedies including burden of proof, compensation and injury to feelings

7. Equal Pay law including problems of comparison

8. Unfair dismissal law including remedies for unfair dismissal

Learning and teaching

The weekly delivery consists of a 2 hour interactive tutor-led large group session and a 1 hour small group tutor-facilitated session.  The tutor-led sessions will be a mixture of tutor-led, note-taking, student discussion, problem solving and mini exercises.  The tutor-led section will disseminate legal principles providing a framework for further study and ensure that students are acquiring relevant knowledge.  Students' learning will also be supported through a dedicated Weblearn site.

The tutor-facilitated sessions will involve students in a number of activities, primarily problem solving case study type questions, working both individually and in groups.  Students will be expected to lead discussions in these sessions and will be required to develop an ability to explain complex legal materials in clear and concise terms both through presentations and in written answers.  Discussions and debates on topical legal issues will require students to make ethical evaluations and to be aware of the context of legal developments.  Students will develop an ability to analyse the law in respect of its effectiveness at achieving stated aims.  Directed reading activities will be provided in the module booklet and students will be expected to prepare for classes.

The learning and teaching strategy will take into account employability activities, where appropriate in conjunction with other modules on the course, and thus will link to employability and students’ future career direction.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module students will be able to:

1. analyse discrimination, employment protection and unfair dismissal law with confidence and appreciate the impact of these subjects on the wider business environment;

2. demonstrate appropriate data seeking and data handling skills, including the use of electronic data sources and the ability to apply and evaluate relevant legal materials in the context of contemporary employment law problems;

3. undertake in-depth research into a topical issue of employment law and propose solutions to complex legal problems;

4. demonstrate understanding and awareness of the ways in which the law seeks to protect disadvantaged groups in an employment context and demonstrate a critical appreciation of the deficiencies of the law in this area;

5. link the major employment law subjects covered in this module in the wider Human Resource Management context and where appropriate make further links to employability and future career direction.

Assessment strategy

This module is assessed in a number of ways.  The first assessment will require students to prepare for an in-class assessment which will test basic understanding of key legal principles and concepts.  This will be designed to ensure that students’ knowledge is up to speed as this will form the basis for future learning and understanding. It will account for 40% of the overall grade.

The second assessment will test students’ ability to apply legal knowledge in order to solve legal problems and will focus on a more practical application of legal principles in a business environment.  The second assessment point will involve in-depth research and analysis in the form of an extended problem-based essay and will account for 60% of the overall grade.  This assessment will target the development of students’ critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and presentation skills.


Reading List

Smith, I and Baker, A. (2013) Smith & Wood’s Employment Law, 11th Edition, Oxford University Press. Turner, C. (2013) Unlocking Employment Law, Routledge.
Willey, B. (20120 Employment Law in Context: An introduction for HR professionals, 4th edition, Pearson Education (or latest edition).
Welch, R. and Stervens, C. (2013) Employment Law, Pearson Education.
Sargeant, M. (2013) Discrimination and the law, Routledge.
Lauterburg, D. (2013) Core Statutes on Employment Law 2013/2014, Palgrave Macmillan.
Hoffman, D. and Rowe, J. (2013) Human Rights in the UK, Pearson Education.
Sargeant M. and Lewis, D. (2012) Employment Law, 6th edition Pearson Education.
Phillips, G and Scott, K. (2012) Employment Law, College of Law. (Available on e-books)
Pitt, G. (2011) Employment Law, Sweet and Maxwell (or latest edition).
Lockton, D. (2011) Employment Law, Macmillan (or latest edition).
Honeyball, S. (2012) Honeyball and Bower’s Textbook on Employment Law, OUP (or latest edition).
Selwyn, N (2012) Selwyn’s Law of Employment, 17th edition, Oxford University Press (or latest edition).
Sargeant, M and Lewis, D. (2011) Essentials of Employment Law, 11th Edition, CIPD(or latest edition).
Wright, T and Conley, H. (2011) Gower Handbook of discrimination at work, Gower (or latest edition).
Connolly, M. (2011) Discrimination Law, Sweet and Maxwell, 2nd Ed. 

Key journals
Equal Opportunities Review
IDS Employment Law Brief
Human Resource Management Journal
Industrial Law Journal
International Journal of Human Resource Management
Labour Research
People Management
Personnel Review
Work, Employment and Society

Relevant law journals are available from the library (hardcopies) and on-line library resources (e.g. LexisNexis, Lawtel and WestLaw)