Other employment legal issues

Other employment legal issuesAt the time of writing, eight legal topics have been covered in the main employment section for employees on this website. There are various other types of employment law issues, some of which are noted below. These will be covered in more detail at a later date

Discrimination

It's illegal for your employer to discriminate against you at work on any of the following grounds:

  • gender;
  • disability;
  • race (including colour, nationality and ethnic background);
  • age;
  • pregnancy or parenthood status;
  • religion or philosophical belief;
  • marriage or civil partnership status;
  • sexual orientation, gender identity or reassignment (eg because you are gay or transsexual or are having/had a sex change).

Data protection and employee monitoring

Your employer is obliged to protect any of your personal data which they hold (eg your address, date of birth or bank details) under the Data Protection Act. If they lose your data or provide it to anyone else without your permission, you may be able to bring a case against them.

You are entitled to a reasonable degree of privacy at work. If there is CCTV in your workplace or your computer or telephone activity is monitored by your employer, they should inform you and provide details of the monitoring (eg if they are reading your emails, or checking your internet browsing history).

Flexible working

As long as you have worked for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks, you have the right to make an official request to work flexibly (eg working from home one day a week). Your employer does not have to grant this request but must consider it in a reasonable manner (objectively and fairly). You can make a flexible working request once every 12 months.

National minimum wage and living wage

All workers are entitled to the national minimum wage (NMW). Those aged 25 or over are entitled to the higher national living wage. See the government website for the latest rates.

If your employer does not pay you the appropriate minimum wage, you can ask your employer to pay you any money you are owed. If they refuse, you can make a claim to a tribunal or HM Revenue & Customs may take action on your behalf.

Failure to pay the minimum wage may also constitute automatically unfair dismissal.

Maternity, paternity and parental leave

In addition to a range of pregnancy rights (eg paid time off for antenatal care) when they are expecting, mothers are entitled to maternity leave and pay when their child is born. There are separate entitlements for fathers (paternity leave and pay). Parents can also share an element of their leave with each other - known as shared parental leave.

In addition to the above, all parents also have a variety of rights regarding taking time off work to spend time with their children, known as parental leave.

Redundancy

If you are being made redundant, your employer must follow a certain process by law (eg selecting people fairly and consulting with employees). If you think you were selected for redundancy unfairly or due to discrimination, you may be able to bring a claim.

If you have worked for your employer continuously for at least two years, you will also be entitled to a certain level of redundancy pay.

Health and safety

Your employer must take reasonable steps to make sure you work in a healthy and safe environment, and to provide for your welfare (for example, allowing appropriate rest breaks).

If you are worried about your working environment, or think that you haven't been given proper training, you should talk to your safety representative (if there is one) or your employer. You have a right not to be victimised for raising health and safety concerns.

If you do suffer an accident or ill health because your employer hasn't done enough to prevent these, you may be able to make a personal injury claim.

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