Glossary of Employment Rights/Law

ACAS: Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. ACAS works with employers and employees to improve workplace relationships. ACAS is an independent public body that receives funding from the government.  ACAS gives employees and employers free, impartial advice on workplace rights, rules, and best practice. ACAS also offers training and help to resolve disputes. For more information click

Appeal: to appeal is to request for a decision to be reviewed. The ACAS Code of Practice says that employees should be given the right to appeal a disciplinary or a grievance outcome. If an employer does not give you the opportunity to appeal, this could be counted against them if the case goes to an Employment Tribunal. Appeals should be submitted in writing. Your workplace should have a policy or guidelines you can follow for appeals, otherwise  you should follow the otherwise you should follow the

You can also speak with your trade union, if you have one, to get advice and support. 

Collective Bargaining: One of the aims of a trade union is to negotiate with employers about matters affecting their members and other employees. Once a trade union is recognised in a workplace, the negotiations they have with the employer are called collective bargaining; these negotiations will be regarding terms and conditions of employment.

Disciplinary: A disciplinary procedure is a formal way for an employer to deal with an employee’s unacceptable or improper behaviour (‘misconduct’) and performance (‘capability’). An employee could face disciplinary action for misconduct outside work.

Before starting a disciplinary procedure, the employer should first see whether the problem can be resolved in an informal way. This can often be the quickest and easiest solution. If the employer has considered trying to resolve the issue informally but feels they need to start a disciplinary procedure, they must tell the employee straight away. For step by step information regarding disciplinary procedure follow this link

Dismissal: termination of the contract of employment of an employee by his or her employer in a correct, fair, and lawful manner. If you are dismissed, your employer must show they’ve a valid reason that they can justify and that they have acted reasonably in the circumstances

The employer must also: be consistent and have investigated the situation fully before dismissing you. If you are threatened with dismissal (or are dismissed) you can get help from a third party to solve the issue by mediation, conciliation, and arbitration. You can also speak to your union representative if you are a member of a trade union. If you are a part-time or fixed-term worker, you cannot be treated less favourably than a full-time or permanent employee.

Information about  unfair dismissal

Employment Tribunal: independent tribunal which makes decisions in legal disputes around employment law. It is responsible for hearing claims from people who think someone such as an employer or potential employer has treated them unlawfully. For more information 

Equality Act 2010: This Act legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society.

It replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act, making the law easier to understand and strengthening protection in some situations. It sets out the different ways in which it is unlawful to treat someone. 

It can be downloaded at

Furlough to allow or force someone to be absent temporarily from work.  Any furlough agreements should be in writing. It is a good idea to include:

  • the date furlough starts
  • how much the furloughed worker will be paid
  • when the furlough will be reviewed
  • how to keep in contact during furlough

Grievance procedure   A grievance procedure is a formal way for an employee to raise a problem or complaint to their employer. The employee can raise a grievance if: they feel raising it informally has not worked or they do not want it dealt with informally.

When an employee raises a formal grievance, their employer should follow a formal procedure. Your workplace should have its own grievance procedure, otherwise you must follow the steps in this guide and the Acas Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures.

Hearing (meeting) is a proceeding where an issue of law or fact is tried, and evidence is presented to help determine the issue.

  1. Disciplinary hearing

  1. Grievance hearing

Gross misconduct is behaviour, on the part of an employee, which is so bad that it destroys the employer/employee relationship, and merits instant dismissal without notice or pay in lieu of notice.(Such dismissal without notice is often called ‘summary dismissal’).

It is strongly advisable to give employees a clear indication of the type of behaviour you consider to be gross misconduct. The employer can do so in the contract of employment itself or in a staff handbook. Identifying such behaviour in advance will help to demonstrate later that you regard it as significant. Most employers would identify intoxication (whether from drink or drugs), fighting or other physical abuse, indecent behaviour, theft, dishonesty, sabotage, serious breaches of health and safety rules, offensive behaviour (such as discrimination, harassment, bullying, abuse and violence) and gross insubordination as examples of gross misconduct.

Redundancy is a form of dismissal from your job. It happens when employers need to reduce their workforce. If you’re being made redundant, you might be eligible for certain things, including: redundancy pay, a notice period, a consultation with your employer, the option to move into a different job, time off to find a new job.

Statutory right/ contractual rights by law, all workers have a number of rights that have been carefully laid down to ensure that all individuals are treated fairly by their employers. These rights, which have been given by state law in the UK, are called your statutory rights.

Contractual rights derive from your contract of employment. A contract of employment is an agreement made between an employer and an employee. The agreement can be a verbal or a written one. Contractual rights are enhanced statutory rights, often negotiated through collective bargaining. 

TUPE stands for the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations and its purpose is to protect employees if the business in which they are employed changes hands. Its effect is to move employees and any liabilities associated with them from the old employer to the new employer by operation of law.

Union recognition agreement Is a formal agreement with an employer for a union to undertake collective bargaining on behalf of that employer’s staff. Critically, recognition provides reps with certain rights and entitlements under employment law, most specifically to paid time off for training and undertaking union duties, i.e. consulting, negotiating and representing members with the head, principal or governing body in your school or college.

Recognition has many advantages for both employers and staff alike: improved communication, team working, improved policies and procedures, shared responsibility for decisions, improved staff morale.

Written terms and conditions Anyone legally classed as an employee or worker has the right to a written document summarising the main terms of their employment. The legal term for this document is the ‘written statement of employment particulars’. It includes information such as pay and working hours.

Many people think this document is the ‘employment contract‘, but legally the contract is much broader than the written terms of their employment.