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Student guidelines writing the employment law assignment

Assignment guidelines

The assignment should meet the word count (+10%) specified in the assessment brief. Please refer to the guidance about Word Count Requirementsfor further information.

The assignment should be written in essay format. Six short essays to address each of the scenarios will probably be most effective.

Acknowledge any quotation from the published or unpublished works of other persons. All references must be fully cited. (See section below on citing references, legislation, legal cases and bibliographies for more information).

The assignment should be typed.

The assignment should be in font size 11, Arial

There should be a declaration on the final page, which specifies the total number of words. This excludes appendices, contents page, title page, bibliography and footnotes.

Include your name and date on the assignment.

The assignment should be submitted to the VLE by the date that you have been given.

All submissions will be checked for plagiarism using software called ‘Turnitin’


Start by reading through the questions carefully. It is important that you address the specific question that has been set. It might be helpful to underline key words or phrases within the questions. In reading the question summarise what it is addressing. For example, is it a question about health and safety or about dismissal?

Read the following question (this is not one of the questions in your assignment):

The organisation requires all employees to fill in an expenses sheet that details any expenses that they want to claim. Georgia recently attended a training course and was asked to complete an expenses form. On the form she stated that she spent £73 on a train fare, and £175 on a hotel room. However, her line manager knows that she drove to the course, and it was only about 30 miles away and also knows that Georgia stayed with her aunt overnight and did not stay in a hotel. Georgia is suspended on suspicion of fraud. The line manager seeks your advice because he wants to dismiss Georgia.

Here the key word is ‘dismiss’.

Reading about the topic

When you have identified the topics look in your course notes for information about that topic. For each question identify:

The relevant law

Any relevant case law

You now need to turn to your course notes about dismissal. Here you will find that a key piece of law is the Employment Rights Act 1996 and that the Acas Code of Practice:

Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures is relevant to dismissal. You will also find that there is a need to investigate what has occurred, and hence will find that BHS v Burchell (1978) is relevant.

Applying the law

When you have identified the relevant law it is important that you apply it to the question that has been asked. There is often the temptation to write rather generally about a topic, rather than specifically addressing the question that has been set.

Keeping with our example you now need to apply the law.

Firstly, the Employment Rights Act 1996 sets out the potentially fair reasons for dismissal. One of these is conduct and this seems to cover the situation that has arisen with Georgia.

Secondly, there is a need to follow the procedure set out in the Acas Code of Practice:

Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. You need to advise the line manager about the requirements from this procedure.

Thirdly, you can apply BHS v Burchell (1978). Here there is the need to have a reasonable investigation, which leads to a reasonable conclusion of the guilt of Georgia. The decision to dismiss, given the circumstances, then has to be reasonable.

Conclude with advice

Now that you have applied the law to the situation give advice. This can be quite specific.

In our example:

It appears that this is a conduct situation. Fraud could be gross misconduct, and hence this could result in summary dismissal. Before making any decisions an investigation needs to be carried out to understand if there are any errors in the line manager’s understanding of what happened. If the investigation seems to suggest that Georgia has fraudulently claimed expenses she must be invited to a disciplinary meeting. She must be invited in writing, and told she can bring a colleague or a trade union representative with her. At the meeting she must be given the opportunity to put her side of the story. Management should adjourn to consider what to do. If she is dismissed she must be given the opportunity to appeal against the dismissal.

To strengthen the credibility of your advice give some examples of the consequences for the company if your advice is not followed (e.g. unfair dismissal claim, discrimination claim with unlimited compensation, reputation of the company, unwanted media attention)

Your assignment is written in the format of a number of different scenarios. It is probably easiest to write this as a number of short answers, with each answer addressing a different scenario.

Assessment criteria

To pass your assignment you must achieve the following assessment criteria:

Understand the purpose of employment regulation and the way it is enforced in practice

Explain the aims and objectives of employment regulation (1.1)

Describe the role played by the tribunal and courts systems in enforcing employment law (1.2)

Explain how cases are settled before and during formal legal procedures (1.3)

Know how to manage recruitment and selection activities lawfully

Identity the main principles of discrimination law in recruitment and selection and in employment (2.1)

Explain how contracts of employment are established (2.2)

Know how to manage change and reorganisation lawfully:

Describe when and how contracts can be changed lawfully (3.1)

Explain the main requirements of redundancy law (3.2)

Explain the main requirements of the law on business transfers (3.3)

Know how to manage issues relating to pay and working time lawfully:

Identify the major statutory rights workers have in the fields of pay, leave and working time (4.1)

Explain the major requirements of equal pay law (4.2)

Explain major maternity, paternity and other family-friendly employment rights (4.3)

Be able to ensure that staff are treated lawfully when they are at work:

Identify the major requirements of health and safety law (5.1)

Explain the significance of implied duties as regards the management of employees

at work (5.2)

Explain the principles of the law on freedom of association (5.3)

Know how to manage performance and disciplinary matters lawfully:

Explain the main requirements of unfair dismissal law in respect of capability and

misconduct issues (6.1)

Explain the scope of the right for employees to be accompanied at serious discipline

and grievance hearings (6.2)

In addition to the above, the following criteria will be used when marking your assignment:

Understanding of the legal issues

Has the student identified the relevant statute?

Has the student used relevant case law? Students will normally reference at least

one case per answer, and sometimes more where relevant

Has the student demonstrated an understanding of the law in what has been written?

Quality of the advice

Has the student applied statute and case law correctly?

Has the student given workable advice?

Has the student understood how to apply legal advice in a workplace setting?

Is the advice underpinned with some reference to the consequences of not taking

action or not following the correct process?


Has the student shown that s/he is competent to give employment law advice to line


Is the advice clear and well explained?

Is it in a format that would be understood by lay managers i.e those not legally



Is the work well structured?

Have legal cases been cited properly

Citing references and bibliographies

Most of your references will be to legal cases. However, you might reference a textbook or journal article. If you do, you should use the Harvard reference system. The sources are referred to (cited) in the text, and then listed at the end of your assignment (in alphabetical order) as a bibliography.

When citing a reference in the text you only need to mention the author(s)’s surname and the date of publication, all contained in brackets. For example, (Taylor, 1998).

Standard format for bibliographical entries is given below. Give as much of the following information as possible/appropriate:

authors name (surname, followed by initials)

publication date

title of article in single quotation marks

title of book, journal, etc

volume or issue number


place of publication

For example, for a book:

Selwyn, N. 2002, Law of Employment. 12 th Ed, Croydon, Butterworths 2002

For example, for a journal article:

Watkins, J. 2003, ‘Stress-busters’, People Management, 23 September, CIPD, London

For example for a website address:, 2006 Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, 3 September


references should run in alphabetical order

if two or more have the same author and year, distinguish by using lower case letters after the year, e.g.2005a, 2005b

references should be as clear and unambiguous as possible, so avoid abbreviations.

if you are referring to the general theme of a book, page numbers are not necessary. When you are quoting or referring to figures or data, page numbers must be included

When citing references from the web, you need to specify the date of your visit to the site.

Legal citations

Being able to accurately cite the source you have used in your work is an important academic skill. When you reference a case, you should not reference the book or website where you read about it. You should just reference the case, as shown below.

Cases are normally referred to by way of the names of the parties concerned in the action.

So, where a court action is brought by somebody called Harriman (the Claimant) in dispute

with somebody called Martin (the Respondent), the case can be referred to as: Harriman

v Martin (said as Harriman and Martin) or

R. v Smith where the claimant is the Crown (i.e. the state).

However, this does not tell us the date of the case or where it can be found in the law reports or journals. Therefore, each case has a unique citation or reference:

Harriman v Martin [1962] 1 WLR 739

This tells you precisely where to find the case in the law library - Weekly Law Reports for 1962, volume 1, at page 739.

Your assignment will be marked by a tutor against the assessment criteria set out above.

Study the assessment criteria carefully and always review your work against this.

04EML, Student Guidance, March 2019, v4