The Peninsula Employment Law Dictionary - 'U'

Peninsula Team

June 29 2012

We all know that employment law is a minefield. Sometimes it may feel like there is legislation for everything and often there are lots of ‘buzz-words’ specific to employment law being bounced around. You wouldn’t be on your own if you thought that employment law is like another language! In an effort to help employers wade through these buzz-words and parts of legislation, we at Peninsula have created our very own Employment Law Dictionary! It’s simple, concise and easy to understand. Each month we represent a letter of the alphabet and associate a few words in employment law with that letter. Unfair Dismissal- See also ‘Constructive Dismissal’ - Unfair dismissal is where an employee has been dismissed unfairly by their employer from their position of employment. An employee may also claim that they have been unfairly dismissed where their employer has engaged in such behaviour which leaves that employee with no other option but to leave their employment; this is known as constructive dismissal. If a claim of unfair dismissal progresses to Tribunal, the employer will be required to prove that their decision to dismiss was fair and reasonable in the circumstances. A dismissal will be automatically unfair if it is motivated by: one of the nine grounds of discrimination; the employee’s trade union activity; the fact that the employee has legal proceedings against the employer or the fact that the employee has exercised some statutory right. Unfair selection for redundancy is also an automatically unfair dismissal. The maximum award available to an employee for unfair dismissal is two years’ pay in compensation. A tribunal may order that the employee be re-instated or re-engaged. Uniform- Many employers require their staff to wear a uniform in the course of their work and many more have a dress code outlining expected standards of dress at work. Uniforms can reinforce a company’s branding, present uniformity of image and also may be needed for health and safety reasons. Employers must be careful not to fall foul of discrimination laws whilst setting a uniform or workplace dress code and if an employer requires employees to wear a specific uniform or to refrain from wearing specific items then they must have objectively justifiable reasons for doing so. Unpaid Leave– Unpaid leave is a term used to describe a period of time that an employee spends out of work without payment but still retaining their employment status. Generally speaking, unpaid leave is granted at the employee’s request on the basis that they return to work by a specified date. The granting of such leave is at the employer’s discretion and this period of absence may take the form of a career break, compassionate leave, bereavement leave etc. Accordingly, such leave should be viewed as discretionary leave rather than an employee right or entitlement.

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