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Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.  A service which aims to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations.  It is an independent, impartial, conciliation service which is empowered to conciliate individual claims to Employment Tribunals and collective industrial disputes.

The unconditional agreement to an offer.  This creates the contract.  Before acceptance, any offer can be withdrawn, but once accepted the contract is binding on both sides.  Any conditions have the effect of a counter offer that must be accepted by the other party.

A hard copy record for documenting accidents and injuries within the workplace.  An accident book should be maintained as part of an employer’s health and safety procedures.  Serious work-related accidents, diseases and dangerous incidents should also be reported to the Health and Safety Executive.

If you issue Tribunal proceedings, you will receive a document called “Acknowledgement of Claim” confirming that your claim has been accepted by the Tribunal.  You will also receive an acknowledgement if you submit a defence to a claim.

When a defendant agrees that a claim form has been received.  The defendant fills in, signs and sends back the acknowledgement of service to confirm, in writing, that the documents were received.

A member of an occupational pension scheme who is currently contributing to their pension.

The second period of 26 weeks’ of statutory maternity leave.

Additional money that someone participating in an occupational pension scheme can pay in to their pension to increase its value.

Postponing a court or Tribunal hearing.

Which evidence can be presented in court or at a Tribunal.  Evidence must be relevant to the case but even some relevant evidence cannot be presented, such as hearsay or evidence of little value.  The judge decides whether or not evidence can be used in the case.

One side in a case agreeing that something the other side has alleged is true.

The process by which people become parents, even though they are not the child’s biological parents.

An employee who adopts a child has an entitlement to ordinary and additional adoption leave, which mirror the entitlements to ordinary and additional maternity leave.  The right to adoption leave only applies to the adoption of a new child into a family.

A payment to an employee who is in the process of adopting, or has recently adopted, a child.  An adoptive parent may be eligible for Statutory Adoption Pay subject to them meeting the specified criteria.  An employer may choose to offer enhanced adoption pay which is more generous than the statutory amount.

To speak on someone’s behalf, in a court or Tribunal.  Traditionally, barristers do more of this type of work than solicitors.

A written statement which is sworn to be true by the person signing it.  It is sworn before someone authorised by the court.

To solemnly promise to tell the truth when giving evidence in court or within an affidavit.  It also means where one party allows a contract to continue despite another party to the contract having fundamentally breached it.

An alternative to swearing an oath when the person giving evidence does not wish to.

A type of legal expenses insurance which is purchased on or around the start of the litigation to meet some, or all, of the costs of pursuing or defending the litigation.  The “event” is the trigger for the litigation (e.g. a workplace accident) and the name reflects the timing of this.

Unfavourable treatment on the grounds of someone’s age; or a provision or practice which disadvantages a particular person because of their age and which would tend to disadvantage others in that particular age group.

The relationship between a principal and an agent.

An individual who is placed by an agency with a third party to carry out work.  The worker is not employed by the third party and their employment rights are limited.

An individual who is placed by an agency with a third party to carry out work.  The worker is not employed by the third party and their employment rights are limited.

Somebody who is appointed to act on behalf of another person (known as the principal).  The extent of the agent’s authority is determined by agreement between them and their principal.  However, unless told otherwise, third parties can assume the agent has full powers to deal on behalf of the principal.

Additional damages awarded within court or Tribunal proceedings to compensate the claimant in circumstances where the defendant/respondent’s behaviour at the time of the original wrong (e.g. discrimination) or afterwards adversely affected the claimant’s pride and dignity.

An unproved statement declaring that something has happened.

The umbrella name for a range of techniques which focus upon ways of resolving a dispute other than through litigation.  A key feature of ADR is that the parties are voluntarily choosing to use it.  Common forms of ADR include conciliation, mediation and arbitration.  The most appropriate form of ADR will (in part) be determined by the type of dispute, for example, the parties to a commercial dispute may have different aims and priorities to those who are involved in a consumer dispute.

The amount of annual leave an employee is permitted to take is governed by the Contract of Employment.  The Working Time Regulations provide for a minimum amount of holiday inclusive of bank holidays.  Where an employee is part-time, their annual leave entitlement should be pro-rated.

Asking a court to overturn a lower court’s decision.  If the decision of a court is disputed it may be possible to ask a higher court to consider the case again by lodging an appeal.

The person who is appealing to a court against a decision of a lower court.

The authority a court has to hear an appeal against a decision made by a lower court.

The settling of a dispute by an arbitrator.  Arbitration is an alternative to litigation which involves an arbitrator reaching a judgment, which is binding on both parties. Where arbitrators cannot agree they may appoint an “umpire”.  The decision of an arbitrator is known as an “award”.  Contracts often include arbitration clauses nominating an arbitrator in advance of any potential dispute.

An arbitrator is an independent person selected by agreement of contesting parties (or by the court) to hear and settle some disputed question between them.  The test for apparent or unconscious bias in an arbitrator is whether there was any real danger that he or she was biased.

A group of workers whose interests are represented by a recognised Trade Union.

A member of the legal profession who has passed the academic and practical requirements of the Bar Council.  A barrister’s main area of work is advocacy.  A barrister is usually self-employed and ordinarily practices from Chambers.  Counsel is an alternate name for one or more barristers.

A basic award is an award which an Employment Tribunal makes to a Claimant whose dismissal has been found to be unfair.  It is calculated in the same way as a statutory redundancy payment (based on age, length of service and a maximum amount of pay per week) which is increased at the start of February each year.

A benefit, other than cash, which effectively increases an employee’s income.  Examples of these may include a company car, private medical insurance or an interest free loan.

The invoice a solicitor sends to a client giving details of any disbursements the solicitor has paid on behalf of the client, the fee the solicitor is charging and any expenses.

Following the decisions made by higher courts.  Lower courts must follow the precedents set by the decisions of higher courts and this is called binding precedent.

The name given to someone who performs manual work.  Typically, this may include people who work in manufacturing, building, mechanical and maintenance trades.  These workers are distinguished from white collar workers and people working in the service sector.

One or more reward-based payments which sit on top of an individual’s usual salary.  A bonus can be contractual, discretionary or a mix of the two.  For example, an employee may have a contractual right to receive a bonus but the amount and basis for awarding it may be down to the employer’s discretion.  Payment of a bonus may be linked to specified criteria, which are often performance related.  The performance element may relate to the performance of the individual, their team and/or the organisation.

Failure by one party to a contract to uphold their part of the deal.  A serious breach of contract can make the whole contract void and can lead to damages being awarded against the party which is in breach.  Damages may be awarded if a court decides that a defendant has broken a contract. For breach of contract, the Claimant would normally be restored to the position he or she would have been in, had the contract been properly fulfilled.

Failing to carry out something which is required by law or doing something the law forbids.

A document prepared by a solicitor which contains the instructions for the barrister to follow when acting on the client’s behalf in court, drafting documents or when giving advice.

A method used by barristers to charge for their services.  This is the substantive payment to a barrister for accepting the brief.  This may be paid in one lump sum or in a series of tranche payments.  The amount and terms of this payment are negotiated with a barrister’s clerk.  Usually this will be a fixed fee which will normally cover preparation for the hearing and the first day of the hearing.  See also Refresher.

There is no finite definition.  However, it will often involve one or more individuals seeking to intimidate another, often in front of other people, in the workplace.  A complaint of bullying may relate to complaints of discrimination and/or harassment.  In its more blatant form, bullying may include verbal and/or physical abuse.  More subtle forms of bullying in the workplace may include issuing someone with an impossible deadline and/or removing an employee’s responsibilities and giving them more basic tasks.

They are not freestanding benefits themselves, but describe an approach to benefits.  Staff can choose their benefits from a wider range and may be given a budget to “buy” the benefits they want.  Also known as flexible benefits.

This term has a specific meaning when used in connection with unfair dismissal.  In these circumstances it is used to evaluate someone in terms of their skill, aptitude, health or any other physical or mental quality against the work they are being asked to carry out.

When someone takes a period of time off from their career with the intention of returning at a later date.  Common reasons for taking a career break include personal or professional development, travel or family commitments.

Someone who with or without payment provides help to a partner, child, relative or neighbour who could not manage without this help.

Law that is based on the results of previous court cases. This is also known as Common Law.

See Preliminary Hearing (below).

An instruction issued by the Employment Tribunal setting out the directions the parties are required to comply with.  An Order is recorded in writing and sent to the parties.  There are serious consequences for failing to comply with an Order of the Employment Tribunal.

Typically used to describe an individual who is not a part of the permanent workforce.  They supply their services on a flexible basis, often to fit around the fluctuating needs of the workplace.

The legal basis on which someone is entitled to sue someone else.

The establishment that a barrister usually works from.

Evidence which suggests a fact but does not prove the fact is true.

Litigation which is conducted within the civil (as opposed to criminal) law courts.

To apply for a right or demand a remedy.

The individual (or organisation such as a trade union) who presents a complaint or claim to an Employment Tribunal or court.

The form used by a Claimant to start Tribunal or court proceedings.  The content and appearance of a claim form will differ between courts and Tribunals.  The claim form used within Employment Tribunal proceedings is also known as an ET1.

When a claim form has been received by the Employment Tribunal office.

A set of guidelines which set out good practice within a specific area of trade or industry.  A code of practice is often seen as providing a benchmark standard. Non-compliance with it can often be brought to the attention of the court or Tribunal and in some circumstances, non- compliance can result in additional compensation being awarded.

A collective agreement is one made between an employer (or employers’ association) and a trade union governing the relationship between the parties.  It will only be legally binding upon the parties if in writing and if it states it has legal status.  Some of the terms and conditions of individual employment of those employees may be covered by a collective agreement.  Although these can be seen as contracts, they are governed by employment law and not contract law.

Where an employer is dismissing 20 or more employees. In this situation, an employer has collective consultation obligations. The exact obligations depend upon the number of employees being dismissed.

A payment or income which is often calculated as a percentage of the value of goods or services provided.

Substantive and procedural law which sits outside legislation but has developed over time through judges hearing cases.  The basis of the legal system in England and Wales.

Money paid to make up for damage or loss caused.

A lump sum that a Company pays to a Director whose position has been terminated.

A lump sum that an employer pays to an employee for ending their employment.

The element of a Tribunal award which is paid to reflect a claimant’s financial losses.  Typically in a dismissal claim, the largest element of this will reflect a claimant’s loss of earnings.  The award can include amounts for ongoing, future losses which may include ongoing unemployment, any new job being on lower pay or benefits or the claimant incurring further expenses in their job search or in setting up in business.  Some claims have a limitation on the amount of award payable, others are unlimited.

The point at which the final party physically signs the agreement and dates it.

The process by which a trade union submits a written request to an employer to recognise them on behalf of a group of employees.  The employer must employ at least 21 employees at the time the request is received.

A form of ADR where parties to a dispute come together with a neutral third party, a conciliator, to identify issues, explore options and seek to reach an agreement.

The independent person who conducts a conciliation.  They will explore the issues with the parties with a view to reaching agreement.  A conciliator will often take a more directional role than a mediator.

Evidence which by law cannot be disputed.

An agreement which depends on a certain thing happening in the future.  If the event does not happen, the agreement will not start to operate.

Something which must happen before a contract starts.

Something which may happen in the future and, if it does, will affect a contract.

Information which must not be divulged without permission.  In a commercial context, it may be of value to an individual or organisation regardless of whether or not its value can be quantified.  Confidential information is often linked with trade secrets, with the former falling in some way short of amounting to a trade secret.

A contract will commonly contain a clause forbidding disclosure of trade secrets and confidential information to third parties during and after the contract.  It may also often require company materials to be kept secure and returned (with any copies) when the contract ends.

The duty owed by one party to another not to divulge certain information, practices and know-how.

An agreement made to protect confidential information if it has to be disclosed to another party.  This often happens during negotiations for a larger contract, when the parties may need to divulge information about their operations to each other.  In this situation, the confidentiality agreement forms a binding contract not to pass on that information whether or not the actual contract is ever signed.  Also known as a non-disclosure agreement.

In a contract each side must give some consideration to the other.  Usually, this is the price paid by one side and the goods supplied by the other.  But it can be anything of value to the other party, and can be negative, with one party agreeing not to do something.

A circumstance where an employee appears to have resigned, but claims to have been dismissed because the employer has behaved so badly to have fundamentally breached the employment contract.

An agreement to provide services between a company and an independent contractor (self-employed individual).

Someone who is engaged on occasion to assist or provide advice to an organisation whilst remaining able to provide these services to other organisations.

An employer has to consult with their workforce before taking certain steps and/or making certain changes, for example, in a redundancy situation.  Depending on the changes and number of employees impacted, consultation may be at an individual level, speaking directly to the employee affected.  Consultation may also be on a collective basis, with the employer consulting with trade union or staff representatives.  Consultation is about an exchange of views.  It should be meaningful and conducted in a spirit of co-operation and with the aim of reaching agreement about any action to be taken.  Representatives must have adequate time to consider any proposals presented to them.

The unbroken period of time for which someone has been employed.  Allowances are made for certain absences which will not be deemed to break continuity.  These typically include sickness, holiday and various types of leave.  During accepted absences, a contract of employment will continue to run.  Employees have to establish a minimum period of continuous employment prior to being able to bring certain claims in the Employment Tribunal.

An agreement between two or more people (or groups) to do (or not to do) something.  The agreement can be enforced by law.

A contract under which materials and services are provided by a contractor/self-employed individual.

The contractual relationship between an employer and employee.

The process by which an individual transfers their pension liability to a private scheme instead of building up entitlement to the State Second Pension (previously known as the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (SERPS)).

An amalgamation of oral and/or written, express and implied terms and conditions under which a person consents to perform certain duties as directed and controlled by an employer in return for agreed remuneration.

A person or business which provides goods or services to another individual or organisation.

A Tribunal may reduce a Claimant’s compensation if their pre-dismissal conduct was relevant in the dismissal. The Tribunal cannot take into account post dismissal conduct in determining contributory fault.

A legal right protecting the expression of ideas.  It can typically apply to literary, dramatic, musical, artistic works, sound recordings, broadcasts and films.  The creator of the protected work uses the copyright as a means of controlling how their material is used.  This can include limiting the broadcasting and public performance of their work as well as copying, adapting, issuing, renting and lending copies of it to the public.  The duration of a copyright varies between the different rights which are protected.  In general terms, if the work giving rise to the copyright is produced during an employee’s employment, the copyright will normally belong to the employer.  Contracts of employment will often make specific reference to this.

The strategic way in which organisations are directed and controlled.  It is concerned with the systems, processes, controls, accountabilities and decision-making at the core of, and at the highest level of, an organisation.

When a court orders an unsuccessful litigant to pay some or all of the successful party’s court costs.  An Employment Tribunal has the power to make a limited costs award against a party, although this is the exception rather than the norm.

The document drafted by Acas when brokering a settlement between the parties to an employment dispute.  The contents, scope and language of a COT3 can be negotiated via Acas.  The crux of the COT3 is usually an employer making a compensatory payment to an employee in return for them agreeing to withdraw their claim(s).

A barrister or group of barristers.

Making a claim in court against someone who has already lodged their claim in court.

An exact copy of a document.  Two or more parties will be given physically different copies of the document and will need to sign these and they will then be amalgamated.  This is a standard way for completing a settlement agreement.  It is necessary to see that the employee has executed the document first, then the adviser, and finally the employer.

A court which hears appeals against the decisions of other lower courts.

A promise within a contract for the performance or non-performance of a specified act.  Breaching a covenant can give rise to claims.

The process of questioning your opponent’s witnesses. The purpose of cross-examination is firstly to establish and advance your own case and secondly to attack the other side’s case.

A pattern of conduct or a way of dealing with things which has been done in that way for some time.  Over time this could also become an implied term of an employee’s contract.

The normal remedy in litigation where one party makes payment to another as compensation for loss or damage.  If another type of remedy is sought (such as an injunction) but this cannot or is not given by the court, then damages will be awarded instead.

The idea of controlling access to and use of information.  This is governed by the General Data Protection Regulation 2018.  The crux of this is a set of principles which anyone handling personal data is obliged to comply with.  A breach of these obligations may be referred to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

One form in which a document can be executed.  The most common use is where a variation or concession is made without the other party giving anything in return.  A deed is enforceable regardless of the legal requirements for contracts such as the need for consideration.

If an employer reduces or fails to pay wages without agreement in writing, this amounts to an unlawful deduction from wages even if the employee owes money to the employer.  The law does not of course remove an employer’s right to recover money properly due to him from an employee (e.g. typically to recover an overpayment of expenses or wages). It does however, save in a few special cases, mean that the employer is not allowed to recover the money by taking the law into his own hands and deducting it from future wages without consent of the employee.

Can be made if a defence is not submitted by the Respondent/Defendant within the prescribed time period.  If a default judgement is issued, the court/Tribunal can hear the case and make a ruling without hearing your side of the story.

A written statement (pleading) by a defendant within civil proceedings setting out the facts that the defence will rely on.

A person defending a court action which has been taken against them.

A member of an occupational pension scheme who has opted out of the scheme or left service.  Also known as “early leavers”.

An employee’s right to unpaid time off work to deal with emergency situations concerning a specific group of people who are classed as “dependants”.  This covers a spouse, partner, parent, child or anyone who lives within your household as a member of the family.  It can also extend to someone else providing they reasonably rely upon you for help in an emergency situation.

A reduction in rank, often accompanied with a lower pay status.  Most people view a demotion as a punishment, as it implies that the individual was incapable of performing at a higher rank.

A disadvantage.  A detriment typically arises where someone has acted or has failed to act and the impact of that places someone in a less advantageous position.

Steps which a court or tribunal requires one or more of the parties to take, usually within a specified timeframe.

Being treated less favourably than others on the grounds of your actual or perceived sex or marital status, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, gender reassignment, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability or age in matters such as recruitment, training, terms and conditions of employment, benefits, dismissal, promotion or post-employment.

A physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.  Amongst other things, the Equality Act 2010 imposes a duty upon employers to make reasonable adjustments to the working environment where an employer knows, or should reasonably be expected to have known, that an employee is disabled.

A payment made by a solicitor to a third party on a client’s behalf.

The internal process by which an employer takes action against an employee to address unsatisfactory conduct.  Having an appropriate procedure in place will assist an employer in arguing that it has acted fairly when dealing with the employee.  Having a formally recorded procedure sets down good practice enabling both employer and employee to know where they stand.  If an employer does not have a specific procedure, it is good practice to follow the Acas Disciplinary Code of Practice.

The process by which each party identifies “documents” which need to be disclosed for the purposes of litigation.  Documents have a wider meaning than just papers and can include photographs, videos and computer data.  Disclosure is usually completed by identifying and recording documents on a list of documents.

It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee on the grounds that they have a disability by either treating them less favourably than they otherwise would (e.g. by demoting or dismissing them) or by failing to make reasonable adjustments.

Under various pieces of legislation, the law prohibits discrimination against various sectors of the workforce.  Conduct is generally discriminatory where it may be considered to disadvantage a person of a particular sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion or belief, disability or age as well as union members or non-members and ex-offenders.  Discrimination may occur at any stage of the employment relationship from the recruitment process, during employment or following termination.

A document in question format, which one party sends to another to answer, which can be sent before or after the issue of proceedings.  The timing of this will impact upon the weight given to the questionnaire and impact of it.  There are a number of standard questions within the questionnaire but a party can add their own specific questions and sub-questions to it.

The act of ending an employee’s employment.  Dismissal may take place if the employer terminates the contract of employment (with or without notice) or if a fixed-term contract expires.  It also occurs in cases of constructive dismissal (see above); or deemed dismissal in the case of refusal to allow a woman back to work after maternity leave.  It may be contrasted with resignation (at the employee’s instance) which does not amount to dismissal.

The term given to the various methods of exploring and seeking to resolve disputes using different processes, venues and individuals and/or organisations.

Diversity is about difference.  It is concerned with the promotion of values, behaviours and working practices which recognise and value the differences between people and taking positive steps to address inequality.  It acknowledges the range of people who bring a variety of backgrounds, styles, perspectives, values and beliefs as assets to the groups and organisations with whom they interact.  Although the term is often used to refer to differences based on ethnicity, gender, age, religion, disability, national origin and sexual orientation, diversity encompasses an infinite range of individuals’ unique characteristics and experiences, including communication styles, physical characteristics such as height and weight, and speed of learning and comprehension.

The process of reducing the numbers within, or size of, an organisation.  This is often achieved (at least in part) through a redundancy process.

The earliest lawful termination date for the purposes of calculating PENP is the last day of the period equal in length to the minimum statutory or contractual notice period required to be given by the employer to terminate the employee’s employment, starting with the “trigger date”.

Fees, wages, remuneration or profits arising from employment.  There is a specific statutory definition given to this within tax legislation.

The employment status which is given to someone who works for a particular employer.  There are various employment rights which only apply to employees rather than workers or self-employed individuals so it is important to establish whether someone is an employee.  This is not always obvious and being labelled as an employee is not decisive.  Instead, it is necessary to consider all the circumstances to identify various characteristics which may establish this.  These include whether an individual works exclusively for one organisation, that the individual has to perform the work personally (rather than delegating it) and the individual receiving fixed remuneration for doing their work.

Maintenance of the relationship between employee and employer.  Where this is good, it can contribute towards higher levels of productivity, motivation and morale resulting in a high retention of staff.

Employers have legal duties and responsibilities towards their employees within the workplace which are concerned with an employee’s health and safety.  If an employee suffers an accident, injury or illness at work, the employer may be at fault for this making the employer responsible, or liable, for this.  The typical remedy for an employee in this situation will be damages.  An employer is required to maintain a minimum level of insurance to guard against this risk.  An employer should also maintain an accident book.

A public or private organisation which provides employment services for both organisations and individuals to fill vacancies on a temporary or permanent basis.

The body which hears appeals from Employment Tribunal decisions on one or more points of law.  It is headed by a president and its powers are governed by legislation.  Hearings are conducted by either a single judge or a judge and two lay members.  Principles established by the EAT are used by Employment Tribunals when reaching their decisions.

The Employment Tribunals are judicial bodies who determine disputes between employers and employees (or unions) over employment rights.  The Employment Tribunals are courts of first instance and their decisions are not legally binding on other Employment Tribunals.  If an Employment Tribunal makes an error of law, its decision may become the subject of an appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

A senior employment lawyer who sits in the Employment Tribunal and oversees the proceedings and deals with the legal issues.  An Employment Judge can decide employment claims and related matters either sitting alone or, with two lay members.  When the panel of three sit, then the decision comes from the panel although it will be drafted and delivered by the judge.  The judge has case management powers, discretion and can make certain decisions alone.  An Employment Judge was previously known as an Employment Chairman.

The Employment Tribunal Service was created by the Ministry of Justice to establish unified administration for the Tribunal system.

Preparing the final version of a legal document ready for it to be executed.

Equality is about treating other people fairly.  Equal pay for equal work for example.  Where you don’t treat people fairly, they will feel undervalued and leave the department they are in or the organisation altogether.  Equality is supported by legislation that makes it unlawful to discriminate against, victimise or harass someone on the grounds of their sex, pregnancy, maternity leave, marital/civil partnership status, gender reassignment, racial grounds (which includes colour, race, nationality and ethnic or national origins), disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief or age.

Equal pay claims can be brought by both employees and self-employed people that have been contracted to execute work personally.  If a person is considering making an equal pay claim they must have a real life comparator of the opposite sex that is earning more than them, but is doing (i) like work, (ii) work related as equivalent and (iii) work of equal value.

The right to be employed or be considered for employment without discrimination and on a level playing field based on the principles of equality.

The Equality Act ensures consistency in what you need to do to make your workplace a fair environment and to comply with the law around equal opportunities.

The form used by a claimant to commence their claim in the Employment Tribunal.  It contains a series of questions to pin down factual points concerning matters including the employee’s details, their dates of employment and their salary and benefits.  It is also the document which the employee uses to identify their claims and present their version of events leading to the dispute.  If this account is lengthy it may be set out in a document called “Particulars of Complaint” which are then attached to the ET1.

The notice form issued by the Employment Tribunal to the respondent.  It accompanies the ET1 and sets out the date by which a respondent has to submit their response to the claim.

The form used by a respondent to reply to the claimant’s Employment Tribunal claim.  It contains a series of questions on factual points concerning matters including the employer’s details and whether the employer agrees with the claimant’s answers given within the ET1.  It is also the document which the employer uses to respond with their version of events concerning the dispute.  If this account is lengthy it may be set out in a document called “Grounds of Resistance” which are then attached to the ET3.

The point at which the parties have separately signed up to an agreement.

Describing a document which is made legally valid by being signed or sealed.

Damages given as a punishment to the defendant in court proceedings.  They can only be awarded in connection with a limited number of civil claims when the defendant’s conduct falls into one of three specific categories.  They are rarely awarded.  Also known as punitive damages.

An expert in a particular field who is called to give an opinion in a court or Tribunal case.

A non-contractual payment typically made under a settlement agreement which it may be possible to pay in a tax effective manner.

Used in legislation concerning maternity and paternity rights and is defined as “the week beginning with midnight between Saturday and Sunday, in which it is expected childbirth will occur”.

The terms actually stated in the contract.  These can be the written terms, or verbal ones agreed before or at the time the contract is made.

The name given to a group of policies which support leave and/or pay entitlements for people benefitting from maternity, paternity, adoption entitlements.  Flexible working arrangements can also support this.

An obligation which is owed by one party to another which is based on one of them holding a position which requires the highest level of loyalty and good faith to the other.

A contract of employment that will terminate on either the expiry of a specific time, the completion of a particular task or on the occurrence (or non-occurrence) of any other specific event other than retirement.  Fixed term employees are employees employed on a fixed term contract.  These employees are protected from less favourable treatment on the ground that they are fixed term employees.  The non-renewal of a fixed term contract is a dismissal.

See Cafeteria Benefits (above).

A working practice that allows employees a degree of freedom in deciding how and when they do their work.  The employer sets certain limits such as minimum and maximum number of hours of work every day, and the core time during which all employees must work.

When a contract cannot be completed because something has happened which makes it impossible to continue or otherwise, it is so far removed from what the parties had intended it to do.

A breach of contract which deprives the other party of substantially the whole benefit the parties intended he should obtain from the contract. It entitles the innocent party to elect to rescind the contract (and claim damages).

Usually seen in the context of a Request for Further Information.  This is where one party will ask another to give further detail and/or clarify something previously referred to within pleadings with a view to better understanding the claim(s).

Future loss of earnings are often included in a claimant’s schedule of loss if their claim includes dismissal.  Although there is nothing preventing a claimant from claiming 1 year’s loss of earnings, Tribunals often limit future losses to a maximum of 6 months future loss of earnings and in any event, the claimant must always show that they have made efforts to mitigate their losses by trying to find alternative employment.

Refers to an employee who is under notice (whether triggered by dismissal or resignation) not being required to work some or all of their notice period.  While on Garden Leave, an employee is not permitted to work for another employer and remains bound by their ongoing contract of employment as normal.  An employer may invoke Garden Leave for two reasons.  Firstly, it can be used to protect their business interests by keeping employees under notice out of the business and away from clients, contacts and business information.  Secondly, it can also be useful where an employer considers that the employee concerned may be difficult or disruptive within the workplace whilst serving out their notice.

The (limited) circumstances in which an employer can specify that an individual must fulfil certain criteria which on the face of it seem discriminatory but can be justified if the requirement is legitimate, reasonable and proportionate.  For example, a theatre could lawfully specify that only people of a certain age (e.g. 8 to 12) can audition for the lead role in the musical Oliver.

The sale or transfer of part or all of a business in its current form.  This will typically include assets, liabilities, records and customers/clients.  What a “going concern” is, is a matter of fact but transfer of goodwill is usually the key criterion.  This will often trigger TUPE issues (see below).

Where an employee raises a complaint of their dissatisfaction on a work-related issue.  The employer should respond to this in accordance with their grievance procedure and should adhere to the Acas code.

This sets out the process that an employer and employee should follow after an employee has raised a grievance.  It is normally a condition of the employment contract that it is subject to the grievance procedure in force at the time.

A personal pension provided through an employer. Each member builds up their own personal pension but the employer usually deducts the contributions from employees’ salaries and passes them on to the pension company.

Conduct which is so serious (such as stealing or work place violence) that it can justify the instant dismissal of an employee for a first offence.  A number of less serious acts or omissions can also cumulatively amount to gross misconduct.  (Potential) gross misconduct has to be on the facts of the case and individual workplace. [See summary dismissal below]

Essentially any unwanted conduct from one individual to another on the grounds of race, sex, marital status, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, disability, age or religion/belief which has the effect of violating and individual’s dignity and/or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive atmosphere.

A set of obligations which are owed by the employer to the employee to preserve their safety and wellbeing in the workplace.

The Government body responsible for ensuring compliance with health and safety at work law and regulations.  HSE inspectors have powers similar to police officers to enter work premises and interview members of staff. They will often conduct an investigation following an accident at work and if they consider that there has been a breach of health and safety law they can bring criminal charges against either the company or an individual.

Given in court of something said to the witness by another person.

Employment Tribunal hearings are less formal than a court hearing, however, the decisions made by Employment Tribunals are legally binding and must be followed.

One or more files of documents which contain the parties’ evidence which is referred to during the court or Tribunal hearing.  The bundle should be assembled in the format required by the relevant court or Tribunal.  Where possible, the contents of the bundle should be agreed between the parties.

A Government department responsible for administering PAYE, Corporation Tax, Value Added Tax, Customs Duties and Excise Duties.

Part of the Senior (previously Supreme) Court.  This is split into three divisions, the Queen’s Bench Division; Chancery Division and Family Division.

See Annual Leave.

There are two types of Holiday Pay – Statutory Holiday Pay (provided for by the Working Time Regulations 1998) and Contractual Holiday Pay (provided for in each employee’s contract of employment).  Each type of Holiday Pay offsets the other.  Where an employee leaves employment at any point which is midway into the holiday year, their entitlement to holiday should be calculated on a pro-rata basis to their leaving date.  In these circumstances, an employee may have accrued leave which they have not taken.  They should be paid for the value of this.

A person who works from home.  Can also be known as a remote worker.

A witness who refuses to give evidence in support of the party who called them; or whose evidence differs from their previous statement, often in an unfavourable way.

Formally the highest court in the UK. It was replaced by the Supreme Court on 1 October 2009.

The department within an organisation which is responsible for managing and dealing with staff.

Terms and clauses that are considered to be part of a contract without actually being mentioned by any party.  Terms implied by custom and practice can always be overridden by express terms, but some terms implied by law cannot be.  Terms can be implied in a range of ways.  These include by conduct of the parties, through custom and practice and business efficacy.  One term which is implied into all contracts of employment is the implied term of trust and confidence.

A duty, typically arising from a contract, in which one promises to make good another’s financial loss or liability, resulting from a particular event or contingency.  It is standard to include a tax indemnity clause from the employee to the employer within a settlement agreement.

A form of discrimination which is usually less obvious than direct discrimination.  Indirect discrimination may impact a sector of people rather than one individual.  It will often arise where an employer operates a provision, criterion or practice which subjects a particular group or sector of the workforce to less favourable treatment.

A tort committed by a third party who intentionally persuades or induces someone to break a contract they have made with another party.  There must be a specific intention to cause a breach, negligent interference will not suffice.

Steps taken by workers often in conjunction with a trade union to enforce their demands.  The most common example of this is a strike.

The process of giving advice to someone to enhance their understanding of a situation.  It often sits hand in hand with consultation.  It is often relevant in advance of implanting changes within the workplace such as changes to terms and conditions of employment or a redundancy process.

The individual who heads up the Information Commissioner’s Office which is concerned with the protection of personal data.

A remedy sometimes awarded by the court that stops some action being taken or completed.  It can be used to stop another party doing something against the terms of a contract.  Injunctions are at the court’s discretion and a judge may refuse to give one and award damages instead.

Relevant to a complaint of discrimination.  It is a specific category of damages where compensation can be awarded to a claimant to reflect the hurt, distress and indignity they have suffered because of the discrimination.  The assessment of awards for injury to feelings are often made with reference to Vento bands which take their name from the leading case law in this area.

Delegating a job to someone within a company, as opposed to someone outside of the company (outsourcing).

Relates to the disclosure process.  It refers to a party’s ability to view the documents which have been placed on the disclosure list.

Documented or undocumented knowledge, creative ideas, or expressions of thought which have commercial value and are protectable under copyright, patent, trademark, or trade secret laws from imitation, infringement, and dilution.

The period between two actions, events, or dates.

Employers should carry out a reasonable investigation, adhering to the Acas code, if they are considering taking disciplinary action against an employee.  Any investigatory meeting should not result in disciplinary action without a disciplinary hearing.  If paid suspension is necessary during the investigation, this should be as brief as possible and kept under review. The employer should make clear that this is not in itself a form of disciplinary action.

An HMRC term which was introduced to identify “disguised employment” where an employee seeks to dress up their employment status to be self-employed to benefit from advantageous tax breaks.

A method of measuring the relative importance of different jobs.  An employer may use it for various purposes including establishing what benefits to offer, reviewing its pay structure and to identify if roles have changed.  It’s important to have current and accurate job descriptions available to carry this out.  There are a range of different schemes available from different providers.

An arrangement where a minimum of two people are employed on part-time basis, and together, they make up one job role.

A situation where there is more than one party and each of them is held equally (jointly) responsible for the problem.  However, each and every one of them is also individually (severally) responsible for the entire problem.  Therefore, a claimant could pursue any one of the parties.  The respondents would have to address liability and payment with the claimant and the respondents would then sort out their respective shares and contributions between themselves.

A judgment is a decision by a court or Tribunal.  All judgments given by the Employment Appeal Tribunal are published on their website.  Judgments given by Employment Tribunals are sent to the parties, but are not published.

Lower courts have to follow the decisions of higher courts.  This is called judicial precedent, binding precedent or precedent.

Any barrister who is not a Queen’s Counsel.

Jurisdiction is the power of a court or judge to hear an action, petition or other proceeding.  When a proceeding in respect of a certain subject matter can only be brought in one court, that court is said to have exclusive jurisdiction.  If it can be brought in any one of several courts, they are said to have concurrent jurisdiction.  Jurisdiction also signifies the district or geographical limits within which the judgments or orders of a court or tribunal can be enforced or executed.  It is common to include a jurisdiction clause in a contract which records the country whose laws will govern the contract and where any legal action must take place.

The considerations applied by the Employment Tribunal when deciding whether or not to exercise its discretion in certain situations.  For example, if a claimant tried to lodge a discrimination claim with the Employment Tribunal outside of the permitted time limit, the Employment Tribunal would have to consider whether it was “just and equitable” in all the circumstances to accept the claim out of time.

A term covering matters such as new product plans, costings, materials, production information, financial status, accountancy information, consumer lists and business information.  If such information is particularly sensitive, it may constitute a genuine trade secret where the law will imply an obligation upon employees and ex-employees to prevent disclosure.  Most other forms of know-how and confidential information can only be restricted, other than during employment, by means of a valid confidentiality undertaking or confidentiality agreement.

The name given to individuals other than the Employment Judge who sit on an Employment Tribunal panel.  Lay members have experience of trade and industry whether from an employer or Trade Union based perspective.

A process where an employer tells an employee to remain at home usually where there is a lack of work to be done.  A lay-off takes effects when an employee is at home for a minimum of one working day.  There is no upper limit.  Unless an employee’s contract states otherwise, or the employee agrees a change, the employee should be paid during any period of lay-off.

A type of insurance policy which covers the policyholder against some or all of the legal costs in pursuing or defending litigation.

The right to withhold documents in certain situations because they relate to the giving or receiving of legal advice.

This happens when an Employee or worker does not receive conditions or benefits granted to others.  Examples of less favourable treatment would include not being given a bonus or receiving fewer paid holidays than comparable employees or workers.

A letter sent by one party to another in advance of commencing court proceedings.  It should contain sufficient information so that the recipient understands what they are being asked to pay and/or to do or not do.  It should also give a timeframe for a response and warn the receiving party that court proceedings are the next step.  Although it may be used as a negotiating tool, some legal claims demand that a letter before action is sent before proceedings are issued.

Where someone is actually or potentially bound by law to do or not do something and which may be subsequently enforced by legal action.

The time window in which a claimant can bring a claim before the Employment Tribunal or court.  In employment matters the limitation periods are far shorter than the County Court and other types of civil claims.  The limitation periods vary depending on the type of claim being brought.  It is only possible to extend the limitation period in very limited circumstances.

When a hearing date has been fixed for a case.

Protects correspondence and other written communications between a party and their lawyers, but also protects those between a client and a third party like experts and external consultants.  This protection can only exist where the dominant purpose of the communication is made either for the purpose of obtaining or giving advice, or to aid in the conduct of the litigation in evidence gathering. For these purposes, the litigation must have already commenced or there must be a “real likelihood” of litigation at the time the communication is made.

The risk that all parties face in the possibility of losing their case.

An allowance paid to employees working in London. It is designed to help these workers with the cost of travelling and working in London with the intention of encouraging key workers to remain in the capital.

A reward system designed to provide incentives to employees over the long-term (usually a year or more).  The rewards are linked to shares and securities.  For example, the reward may be an award of shares or a cash bonus scheme which tracks movements in shares and securities.

An employee who performs physical work.  Also see ‘blue collar worker”.

A certificate issued by a midwife confirming the fact of a woman’s pregnancy.

A leave of absence from a job by a woman in advance of and/or following the birth of her baby subject to her meeting specified criteria.  The duration of maternity leave and when it starts and finishes will vary in each case.  Statutory maternity leave is (up to) 52 weeks and is divided into two stages – Ordinary Maternity Leave and Additional Maternity Leave.  An employer may offer enhanced maternity leave which is more generous than the statutory provisions.

Money paid by employers to female employees during some or all of their maternity leave subject to the employee meeting specified criteria.  An employer may offer enhanced maternity pay which is more generous than the statutory amount.

The name for various entitlements that an employee who is pregnant, or has recently given birth, has.  These include paid time off for ante-natal care, maternity leave, maternity pay benefits and to be protected against unfair treatment or dismissal.

A flexible process where parties in dispute use an independent third party, a mediator, to help resolve their problem(s).  The parties and mediator work together towards a negotiated agreement, with the parties retaining control over any decision to settle and on what terms.

In certain cases, such as disability discrimination claims, medical evidence may be required. This can be in the form of simply providing medical records, obtaining a medical report or calling an expert witness.

The Employment Tribunal hearing which deals with the substantive issues and claims.  If the claimant succeeds, the Tribunal will convene a remedy hearing whether immediately after the merits hearing or on another day.

One or more occasions of behaving in a way which is unacceptable.  The most serious incidents of misconduct may amount to gross misconduct.

A legal obligation imposed upon a claimant in Employment Tribunals or court proceedings which requires them to take reasonable steps to make their loss as small as possible.  A claimant should approach this as if there was no prospect of recovering money from their employer or the other party.  For example, an employee who is unfairly dismissed can mitigate their loss by seeking to obtain another job.  Alternatively, they may be able to mitigate their loss by setting up their own business.  An Employment Tribunal can reduce any award it may otherwise have made if it considers an employee has failed to mitigate his or her loss.

When an employee does not have one fixed place of work.  Mobile workers are linked to a central base by telephone and IT technology.

Sums which are paid by employers and employees.  They are collected through the “pay as you earn” (PAYE) income tax collection system.  The employer must make appropriate deductions from earnings and make payments of both their and their employees’ contributions each month.

The statutory wage structure which sets out the minimum sum that a worker should be paid.  It is specified at an hourly rate which increases from time to time.  It also draws a distinction between workers aged between 18 and 20 and those who are 21 and older.

A bargaining process between two or more parties who each have their own aims, needs, and viewpoints and are looking to reach agreement to settle a matter of mutual concern or resolve a conflict.

When the contract of employment is brought to an end by the employer, the employee is entitled to receive notice of termination of employment.  The only exception is in the case of dismissal for gross misconduct where dismissal is without notice.  The length of notice is either contractual or statutory notice.   The notice can be either:  1. Worked, 2. Served on Garden Leave, 3. Paid under PILON.   When it is the employee who wishes to terminate the contract of employment, they need to serve notice on the employer, which is as determined by either; the contract of employment, custom and practice or what is reasonable.

Swearing the truth of a statement.

Where information is original and not publicly known, it may be considered to be confidential information.  If you need to disclose it to another, an obligation of confidentiality must be imposed on the recipient (preferably by way of written agreement) – this will allow you legal remedies against the recipient if the obligation is broken.  In certain circumstances, where trust is implicit in an arrangement (e.g. between a client and a professional advisor) that obligation may be implied even where there is no written agreement.  With employees, implied obligations of confidentiality apply during employment – post employment restrictions in relation to confidential information should generally be expressly agreed in writing, preferably in the employment contract.

A pension scheme provided by an employer (as opposed to the State pension or private pension).  An employee may or may not have to contribute to their occupational pension.

A pension scheme organised by an employer for its employees.

An offer to contract must be made with the intention to create, if accepted, a legal relationship.  It must be capable of being accepted (not containing any impossible conditions), must also be complete (not requiring more information to define the offer) and not merely advertising.

When an advisor is assisting you behind the scenes, but will not communicate with the other party and/or represent you at a hearing.

Your advisor is officially representing you. They are likely to write and receive letters on your behalf and represent you at any hearings (unless they have specifically stated otherwise).

Notices given by the Employment Tribunal instructing one or both parties to do certain tasks, or advise of key dates in relation to the case.

The first period of 26 weeks’ of statutory maternity leave.

Can be seen as a planned and systematic approach which facilitates sustained organisational performance through the involvement of its people.

The transfer of a business function to an external service provider.

An agreement which provides the terms and conditions under which a business function is outsourced.

A period of unpaid time off work to care for a child or make arrangements for the child’s welfare.  Often, the term parental leave includes maternity, paternity, and adoption leave.

A part-time job is a form of employment that carries fewer hours per week than an employer’s standard full-time working hours.

A claimant’s account of the reasons for pursuing an Employment Tribunal claim.

A leave of absence from a job by an employee who is either the biological father of the child or the mother’s husband or partner who has or is expected to have responsibility for the child’s upbringing and meets the specified criteria.  The employee can choose to take either one week or two consecutive weeks’ paid paternity leave (not odd days) within 56 days of the child’s birth or placement for adoption.  An employer may offer enhanced paternity leave which is more generous than the statutory provisions.

Money given, usually in exchange for goods or services.

Employees pay Schedule E income tax and the employer is responsible for deducting the tax due (in accordance with the employee’s allocated tax code) and paying it to HMRC.  Certain PAYE records must be kept by the employer for the benefit of the HMRC.

Instead of placing the employee on Garden Leave or making them work their notice, the employer can, in certain circumstances, end the contract of employment earlier by making a payment to the employee that is equivalent to the amount they would have received had they worked their notice.

The amount of a “relevant termination award” paid to a departing employee that represents a payment in lieu of all or part of their notice entitlement.  PENP is calculated according to a statutory formula, based on the employee’s basic pay and the number of days (or months) in the employee’s period of unserved notice (known as the “post employment notice period”).  This amount is then subject to deductions for income tax and National Insurance contributions.  The requirement to tax post-employment notice pay means that payments in lieu of notice can no longer be paid free of tax.  The statutory formula applicable to PENP is:


(BP x D / P) – T




“BP” = the employee’s basic pay in respect of the last pay period of the employment ending before the trigger date.

“D” = the number of calendar days in the post-employment notice period.

“P” = the number of calendar days in the employee’s last pay period.

“T” = any payment or benefit received by the employee in connection with the termination that is taxable as earnings.  There are important exceptions to what is included within “T”.


NB the formula is slightly different for employees with a monthly pay period and monthly notice entitlement.

If the sum is negative, then the amount of PENP will be nil.

If the sum exceeds the total amount of the relevant termination award, then PENP is capped at the total amount of the relevant termination award.


Basic pay for the purposes of calculating PENP is the total employment income the employee receives (or was entitled to receive) in their last pay period before the “trigger date” (either the day notice was given, or the last day of employment if no notice is given), but does not include:


  • any amount received by way of overtime, bonus, commission, gratuity or allowance;
  • any amount received in connection with the termination of the employment;
  • any amount treated as earnings under the benefits code (most benefits in kind);
  • any amount which is treated as earnings;
  • any amount which relates to securities and securities options and counts as employment income; and
  • any employment-related securities that constitute earnings.


An individual who has retired and is in receipt of a pension.

Under the Pension Schemes Act 1993, an employer can contract out of the SERPS element of the state pension scheme (hence qualifying for contracted-out rebate on National Insurance Contributions) by means of an occupational pension scheme.  There are strict rules relating to occupational pension schemes generally and to contracting out.  Benefits under a contracted- out scheme must be at least as good as SERPS benefits and such schemes must attain the “guaranteed minimum pension”.  An occupational pension scheme need not be contracted-out.

An individual’s level of ability compared against the work they are required to carry out.

A process which contributes to the effective management of an individual in order to increase and/or monitor their level of performance.  It establishes a shared understanding between employee and employer of what is expected from the employee in terms of their performance.

A form of insurance which can pay a regular income to someone who is suffering from long-term sickness or injury.  The rules of the policy determine how long after the trigger event (of sickness or injury) payments will be made to the insured, as well as the amount of, and duration of, the payment.

The previous name for statements of the facts prepared by both sides in a civil case.  Each side gives the other its pleadings so that they are both aware of what arguments will be used during the trial.  These documents are now referred to as Statements of Case.

To have property under your control.

Having something under your control even though you may not own it.

The post-employment notice period for the purposes of calculating the PENP figure is the period beginning at the end of the last day of employment and ending with the earliest lawful termination date.

One or more restraints which an employer imposes upon an employee with the purpose of protecting its business.  The restriction may be for a specified or unspecified period of time after their employment has ended.  For example, an employee may be prevented from working for a competitor for 12 months after their employment has ended.

One or more duties which an employer imposes upon an employee with the purpose of protecting its business.  The restriction may be for a specified or unspecified period of time after their employment has ended.  For example, an employee may be required to maintain confidentiality of information concerning a new project.

These are rules of the court which are relevant to certain specified civil proceedings.  They set out the steps that parties to the anticipated litigation should take before starting proceedings.  The intention of the protocols is to facilitate an early exchange of information and, if possible, to avoid the litigation altogether.

Lower courts have to follow the decisions of the higher courts.  This is called precedent, binding precedent or judicial precedent.

See Preliminary Hearing (below).

Formerly known as Case Management Discussions or Pre-Hearing Reviews,  a Preliminary Hearing is a specific type of hearing which the Employment Tribunal will arrange if it considers that it cannot simply issue a Case Management Order.  The purpose of the hearing is for the Tribunal to review the issues and to provide directions to guide the case through to the next stage or hearing.  Examples of common directions include giving deadlines for disclosure, witness statements and fixing hearing dates. The Tribunal may also consider a request by one or more parties where they consider the case should not proceed on its merits.  An Employment Judge considers an amount of the evidence in the case and whether or not it is sufficient to proceed.

A person who authorises an agent to act to create a legal relationship with a third party.

The term given to a number of specific circumstances in which a party is protected from having to reveal certain information and/or documents.

A period of time during which a new employee’s employment is kept under ongoing and/or regular review to assess their suitability to doing the job, in advance of confirming this by post.

Income paid to an employee under a scheme arranged by their employer (and HMRC approved), where the amount of pay an employee receives is directly related to their employer’s profitability.

The system of sharing the profits that a company makes between the people who work for it

Calculating a proportion of the whole.  This is typically relevant to part-time workers whose salary and benefits are usually pro-rated against the full-time equivalent figures.

The Equality Act 2010 is concerned with discrimination and harassment in respect of nine protected characteristics: age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation.

A disclosure of information which is protected by the “Whistleblowers” legislation.  Such a disclosure is known as a qualifying disclosure, a term which has its own separate and, comprehensive definition.

An award which can be made by an Employment Tribunal in favour of individuals who have been made redundant in circumstances where their employer failed to arrange for elections of employee representatives in accordance with relevant trade union legislation or failed to consult with appropriate representatives of affected employees in a collective redundancy situation.

The form provided by an employer to an employee after leaving employment.  It sets out various information including a breakdown of earnings and tax payments for the current tax year.  A P45 is issued after an employee has come off of the payroll.

A form issued annually that summarises an employee’s pay and the tax deducted from it in the respective tax year.

A form completed annually by the employer which they submit to HMRC.  It declares the value of any ‘benefits in kind’ they have given to an employee during the respective tax year.

The term used in the “Whistleblowers” legislation to identify the categories of information which a worker can disclose to a suitable person without fear of reprisal (or more accurately which will give the worker rights if reprisals are taken against him for making the disclosure) provided the disclosure is made in good faith.

Some Employment Tribunal claims have pre-conditions which need to be satisfied before a claimant is eligible to bring a claim.  For example, in order to claim unfair dismissal an employee normally has to have a qualifying period of employment.  There are some exceptions to the requirement for a qualifying period, for example, where someone is dismissed on the grounds of their pregnancy.

The amount of compensation that the Tribunal will award the Claimant if they win their case.

A barrister who has been chosen by the Lord Chancellor to serve as counsel to the Crown.  A Queen’s Counsel is the most senior level of barrister.

Written form requesting information from the employer in a discrimination case.

Treating someone less favourably because of their race, colour, nationality or culture.

In simple terms, a redundancy situation arises where an employer needs to cut jobs, move a place of work or close down its business completely.

When an employee is made redundant they are entitled to a statutory redundancy payment provided they have more than two years’ service.  This payment is calculated by reference to the employee’s age and length of service to give a multiplier which is then used with the value of up to “a weeks pay”.  Alternatively, an employee may be entitled to an enhanced redundancy payment under their contract of employment.

When an employee is allowed to return to work after a dismissal to do a different job with that employer.

A basic method used by barristers to charge for their services.  “Refreshers” are a daily charge used for each subsequent day after the first day in court.  These will be payable in addition to the Brief Fee (above).

When an employee is allowed to return to work after a dismissal to do the same job with that employer.

A “relevant termination award” (RTA) is a payment or benefit received (directly or indirectly) in connection with the termination of a person’s employment, but which is not otherwise subject to tax.  RTAs comprise two elements:

  • Post-Employment Notice Pay (PENP).
  • Termination payments subject to section 403 ITEPA 2003 (which benefit from a £30,000 tax-free amount, in excess of which they are taxable as employment income).

RTAs do not include a statutory redundancy payment, or approved contractual payment to the extent that they are exempt from tax.

A hearing which either comes immediately, or some time after, a merits hearing at which the claimant succeeded with some or all of their claims.  This hearing determines what level of compensation the claimant should get.

Compensation or any other award that the Tribunal can make.

Money paid or a benefit given to a person in return for their services.  It usually refers to a wage or salary but can also take the form of a special payment such as a bonus or a benefit.

A breach of contract by one party that is sufficiently serious to entitle the other to treat the contract as terminated with immediate effect and sue for damages for breach of contract.

The person an Employment Tribunal claim is being taken against.  Depending on the type of claim, it can be against the employer and/or other employees of the employer.

The form used by a respondent to reply to Employment Tribunal proceedings.  Also known as an ET3.

The required break a worker should have between working days.  There are exceptions to this as well as special provisions for young workers (see below).  These are set out in detail within the Working Time Regulations.

A restrictive covenant is an obligation imposed on an employee in an employment contract or settlement agreement which prevents the employee from doing something during or after their employment has ended.  This usually covers engaging in competing businesses or poaching staff, customers or clients.  They should be drafted as concisely as possible to protect a legitimate business interest.

The solicitor/client relationship.

An extended period of leave, taken by an employee in order to pursue interests which are not otherwise associated with the employee’s job.

A form of periodic payment from an employer to an employee, which may be specified in an employment contract.

SAYE is a tax-efficient cash saving scheme that lets you save towards buying shares in your company.  At the end of the term you have the option to buy shares in your company or take out your savings and tax-free bonus in cash.

A claimant’s opportunity to detail what they want to claim by way of monetary compensation in their Tribunal claim.

A temporary transfer to another job for a defined period of time and for a specific purpose.  This can be either within the same organisation or with an external organisation.

The process by which an employee validates their own sickness-related absence.

An individual who is not employed.  Typically a self-employed person will have a large degree of autonomy including the ability to decide what work they do, provide their own equipment and work for more than one individual or organisation.

The higher courts in English law, which include the Court of Appeal, the High Court and Crown Courts.  In each case, their decisions bind the courts below them.

An agreement between a Company and its Directors or senior managers setting out their terms of service.

Generally viewed as producing a service instead of just an end product.

To end a case or claim by agreement.

The voluntary conclusion of any litigation by the parties involved. Settlement can be made at any time before a final hearing.

A legally binding agreement entered into, either in advance of, or following, the termination of employment.  It usually provides for a compensatory payment to be made by the employer in return for the employee agreeing not to pursue any claims they may have at an Employment Tribunal.  It may also deal with contractual payments including notice and holiday pay.  A settlement agreement can also deal with non-financial items which typically include an agreed reference and obligations which the employee has to the employer after their employment has ended, such as confidentiality.  There are specific requirements which a settlement agreement has to have in order to be valid and binding.  One of these is that the employee must have taken independent legal advice (from a specified category of advisers) about the nature and effect of signing it.

Unfavourable treatment on the grounds of a person’s gender; or a policy or a criterion which has an adverse effect due to a person’s sex or marital status.

Unfavourable treatment on the grounds of a person’s sexual orientation, or perceived sexual orientation.

There are two forms of sexual harassment.  Firstly, where a person is subject to unwanted conduct because of his/her sex and which has the purpose, or effect of, violating their dignity, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.  Alternatively a person may receive unwanted physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.  Possible examples of this may include indecent remarks and sexual demands by a member of your own or the opposite sex.

A plan to give employees tax and national insurance advantages when they buy, or are given, shares for the company that they work for.

One or more payments to an employee who is absent from work due to sickness.  Subject to an employee meeting the criteria, an employer is obliged to pay them Statutory Sick Pay.  Alternatively, an employer may pay an enhanced rate of sick pay either on a contractual or discretionary basis.

A skeleton argument is intended to identify both for the parties and the court those points which are, and those that are not, in issue, and the nature of the argument in relation to those points which are in issue.

An acronym which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timed.  These criteria are used to assess whether objectives are realistic.

Acronym for Some Other Substantial Reason.  One of the potentially fair reasons for dismissal, including business re-organisation, refusal to accept changes to terms and conditions and personality clashes.

A committee of employees and/or recognised staff representatives which are there to represent the views of staff.

Stakeholder pension schemes were introduced to encourage more long term saving for retirement. They are required to meet a number of conditions set out in legislation, including a cap on charges, low minimum contributions, and flexibility in relation to stopping and starting contributions. Employers with 5 or more employees are required to provide access to a stakeholder pension scheme for their employees unless they offer a suitable alternative pension scheme.

Under section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, an employer must give an employee key particulars of their employment in writing within two months of commencing employment.  These include key terms of the employment relationships including the date of continuous employment, job title, remuneration and notice period.

An Act of Parliament.

The law created by Acts of Parliament.

A notice period can be determined in one of two ways.  Firstly, within an employee’s contract of employment.  Secondly, by statute.  This is known as statutory notice and employees are entitled to a minimum period of notice depending on length of service.  In the event that a contractual notice period is less than the statutory minimum, it is automatically increased in line with the statutory minimum.

A concerted stoppage of work during a time at which an employee is employed to work.

Words used on documents exchanged by parties during contract negotiations.  They denote that the document is not an offer or acceptance and negotiations are ongoing.

The situation where an employee is dismissed “on the spot” without notice or prior warnings.  Subject to the facts and circumstances of a case, this may be an appropriate sanction in a case of gross misconduct.

A working arrangement where someone works from home or another base rather than a fixed office.  They conduct their work using a telephone and other forms of telecommunications.

Someone who works for a business or organisation for a short period of time.

When the employment relationship comes to an end, generally when either the employer or the employee serves notice on the other.

To give evidence.

A trademark is a symbol like a logo or brand name which distinguishes goods and services in the marketplace.

Information in the form of a formula, practice, process, design or compilation of information, which is not generally known or reasonably ascertainable, which an individual or organisation can use to gain an economic advantage over its competitors.  A contract will commonly contain a clause forbidding disclosure of trade secrets during the term of the contract and after it has ended.

A membership-based group who are wholly, or mainly, workers.  One of its main aims is to protect and advance the interests of its members in the workplace.  Although independent of employers, some trade unions develop close working relationships with them.  A union often negotiates agreements with employers on pay and conditions. It may also provide legal and financial advice and discounted facilities and benefits to its members.

A trade union can be said to be recognised when an employer agrees to negotiate with it on the issues of pay and working conditions on behalf of a particular group of workers.  Recognition can be on a voluntary or compulsory basis.

The transfer of an undertaking or business, or part of an undertaking or business, to someone else.  The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations apply in this situation.  Employees of the previous owner when the business changes hands automatically become employees of the new employer on the same terms and conditions. Employers are required to inform and consult employees affected directly or indirectly by the transfer.

A body set up to act like a court but is outside of the normal court system.

For the purposes of calculating PENP, if notice is given to terminate an individual’s employment (by either employee or employer), the trigger date is the day that notice is given. If notice is not given, the trigger date is the last day of the employment.

A term which is implied into every contract of employment.  Both employer and employee owe each other the duty not to act in a way which is likely to destroy or seriously damage the relationship of trust and confidence which goes to the core of an employment relationship. Claimants often rely upon breach of this term to pursue a constructive unfair dismissal claim.

A situation where different employees within an organisation are employed under different sets of terms and conditions.  This situation will tend to arise either where an organisation has both employees with very long and very short employment and some terms and conditions have changed over time, or where some of the workforce as transferred in under the provisions of TUPE.

Where an employer dismisses an employee without a potentially fair reason and/or without following a fair process.  Potentially fair reasons for dismissal include conduct, capability or redundancy.  With a few exceptions, an employee needs to have 24 months’ continuous service (12 months if employment commenced before 6 April 2012) with their employer in order to be able to bring a claim for unfair dismissal.

Where an employer withholds or subtracts amounts from an employee’s wages without the employee’s written agreement to do so.

A variation of contract can be either agreed between the parties or imposed by one party alone.  An agreed variation is usually not controversial, for example, an increase in pay.  An imposed variation can amount to a dismissal if either the employee resigns and claims constructive dismissal or the imposed contract amounts to a different contract.

Vexatious litigation is when a claim is brought, regardless of its merits, solely to harass or subdue the other party.  Filing vexatious litigation is considered an abuse of the judicial process and may result in sanctions against the offender.

An employer is vicariously liable for the deliberate or negligent acts or omissions of its employees during the course of their employment, whether or not the act or omission was specifically authorised by the employer.  It is the fact of employment rather than the act or omission which creates this liability.  For an employer to successfully defend this claim, they would have to demonstrate that the employee was acting in a way that was so far removed from their employment, that they were personally responsible.

A discrimination-based claim where an employer subjects an employee to less favourable treatment in retaliation for the employee taking or proposing to take various steps.  These include the employee bringing (or proposing to bring) discrimination proceedings and giving evidence or information in connection with such proceedings (brought by any other person).  Acts of victimisation can take place during employment and after it has ended.

Where an employer voluntarily agrees to recognise a trade union for the purpose of collective bargaining.

Someone who provides their services for no remuneration.  No employment relationship exists between a volunteer and the organisation to whom they are providing their services.

Any sums payable to a worker by their employer in connection with their employment.  This can include a fee, bonus, commission or holiday pay.

A contractual promise, which if broken can entitle the injured party to claim damages.  Warranties can be included within settlement agreements as part of the post-termination obligations.

A week’s pay is the unit of measurement for a basic award or a statutory redundancy payment.  A week’s pay is the lower of an employee’s gross weekly wage or the statutory limit which is reviewed from time to time.

A disclosure by a worker which they reasonably believe shows a wrongdoing.  There are 6 categories of wrongdoing which include a breach of a legal obligation or the endangering of an individual’s health and safety. A disclosure has to be made in good faith and to a certain category of person (typically the worker’s employer). A worker who has made a protected disclosure has the right not to suffer detriments or be unfairly dismissed as a result of “blowing the whistle”.

An informal phrase used to describe a salaried professional or person who performs semi-professional office or administrative based tasks.

A term used by solicitors during negotiations with a view to settling a matter and avoiding (further) litigation.  As a general rule, if the case does go to court or tribunal, no offer or facts stated to be without prejudice can be disclosed as evidence.

This has two possible meanings.  It can be someone who watches someone else sign a document and then signs it themselves and inserts their name, address and occupation to verify the signature’s authenticity.  It can also be someone who goes to court or to a Tribunal to give evidence.

A Tribunal order forcing an unwilling witness to come to the Tribunal.


Written statement containing witnesses evidence.

Someone who does or performs personally any work or services for another party to the contract but is not an employee. The definition of a worker is wider than that of an employee.  Employees are workers, but employees have different and greater employment rights and responsibilities than workers.

This has a specific definition under the Working Time Regulations.  It is any period during which a worker is working, at the employer’s disposal and carrying out their activities or duties.  Working time also covers entitlement to annual leave.  The Working Time Regulations also identify certain categories of workers who are exceptions to the general rules, including shift workers, workers in the armed forces and young workers.

A legal document issued by the UK Border Agency which relates to a specific person and specific job giving information required for employment of certain people in certain countries.  UK employers can recruit or transfer people from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), while still protecting the interests of resident workers in the UK.  Work permits also allow overseas nationals to come to the UK for training or work experience.

A body made up of employer and employee representatives, whose purpose is to discuss matters of common interest relating to the running of the business and facilitate a greater degree of employee input into the firm.

A claim based on breach of contract.  Wrongful dismissal is distinct from unfair dismissal.  The most common form of breach is where an employee is dismissed without notice or insufficient notice.  Wrongful dismissal claims can be brought in the Employment Tribunal, County Court or High Court depending on the value of the claim.

The employment of young persons, defined as between 16 to 18, is governed by a number of laws relating to national minimum wage, health and safety and hours of work.  The national minimum wage is lower for a young person than for a person over 21.  There are health and safety restrictions on the type of work young people can do.  Hours of work are governed by the Working Time Regulations.

A worker aged between 16 and 18 years old.

A contract under which the employer does not guarantee to provide any work and the employee is only paid for work actually done.  Also referred to as a “nil hours” contract.