module specification

BL6005 - Employment Law for Professionals (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Employment Law for Professionals
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 300
219 hours Guided independent study
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
In-Course Test 30%   In-class assessment
Coursework 20%   Business simulation
Coursework 50%   Seminar based activity and course work
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Friday Morning

Module summary

This module provides students with an in-depth knowledge of the law affecting the employment relationship which is crucial for HR professionals, managers, and those intending to start their own business.  A wide range of topical legal issues is examined and applied to real life employment situations including pregnancy, maternity rights, organisation of working time, work-life balance, equal pay, stress at work, termination of employment, human rights issues in employment and the rights of EU workers.  Students are given the opportunity to critically explore various individual employment rights and how the law seeks to afford protection in the employment context.  The strong influence of European law on employment law provides students with an understanding of the impact of EU law on the employment relationship. 

The module also seeks to provide an in-depth understanding of the legal principles relevant to all parties involved in industrial conflict.  Examination of these principles in the context of current employment practices will give students the ability to appreciate the wider issues in employment relations, including the role of government and the position of trade unions in contemporary society. 

Barred combinations: BL5003

Module aims

The specific aims of the module are:

1. To give students knowledge of the legal framework of the employment relationship and its importance in the business context and enable students to articulate clearly relevant legal issues and effectively communicate them;

2. To develop a critical understanding of the political and social influences which affect the introduction and implementation of employment law, including European and other international 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 further encourage an interest in current employment issues and where appropriate to link this to employability and students’ future career direction.

This module will further 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. The law on termination of employment including redundancy;

2. Impact of Business restructuring including rules relating to transfer of undertakings;

3. Employment protection law including pregnancy discrimination, maternity and parental leave rights, paternity and adoption rights, flexible working and time off to care for dependants;

4. Equal Pay law and the impact of European Law;

5. The UK/EU Family-friendly employment rights;

6. Health and Safety Law including stress at work;

7. The rights of EU workers

8. Human rights in employment context

9. Employment Rights related to trade union membership and non-membership;

10. Development of the law relating to strike and other industrial action including the UK international obligations (e.g. EU, ILO and ECHR); 

11. Current issues in employment protection and employment relations law.

Learning and teaching

The weekly delivery consists of a 1.5 hour interactive tutor led large group session and a 1.5 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 framework for further study.  This session will be both informative and interactive and will seek to ensure the 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 critical 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.

Learning outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate critical knowledge and understanding of various aspects of employment law (including EU and international influences) which affect employees, employers, trade unions and trade union members and be aware of the impact the law has on employment relations;

2. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the influence of political and social change on the legal regulation of employment relations;

3. Demonstrate an ability to identify legal problems in the application of law to everyday workplace/employment relations situations, including ethical and cultural diversity issues, making use of newsworthy current events to analyse and comment on relevant topics;

4. Demonstrate an ability to think critically and produce practical solutions to situations arising in the workplace and understand the implications for good employment relations practice;

5. Critically analyse the legal principles, theories and the social and political backgrounds of employment relations law, in a national and international context.

6. Demonstrate appropriate critical data seeking and data handling skills, including the use of electronic data sources and be able to apply and evaluate relevant legal materials in the context of contemporary employment law problems;

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. 

The second assessment will focus on a more practical application of legal principles in a business environment.  A flexible business simulation will be used and will allow students to demonstrate knowledge of legal principles applied in a real-life simulated business environment.  This assessment will target the development of students’ critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and presentation skills.

The third assessment will test students’ ability to apply legal knowledge in order to solve legal problems.  Work for the preparation of the assessment task will begin in the seminars and will involve students working together in groups for a common purpose.  The final course work will be an individual piece of writing and will demonstrate a culmination of knowledge and skills developed throughout the module.


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. (2012) 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.
Lorber P and Novitz T (2012) Industrial Relations in the UK, Intersentia.
Barrow, C. (2002) Industrial Relations Law, Cavendish.
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
Industrial Relations 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)