Employment Law

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Astrid Sanders and Prof Hugh Collins


This course is available on the BA in Anthropology and Law and LLB in Laws. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit. This course is available to General Course students.

Course content

This subject builds on contract and tort, and to some extent public law and EU law, but introduces the distinctive legal regulation of employment relations, such as the law of dismissal and discrimination law, and the institutional arrangements of industrial relations, including trade unions and collective bargaining. Labour law is an important area of legal practice, with employment law disputes representing one of the largest topics of civil litigation.



  • Contract of Employment: the duties of employer and employee; the variety of work relations; vulnerable workers and the personal scope of employment law
  • Regulation of the Employment Relation: minimum wage, working time
  • Anti-Discrimination Law: implications of the Equality Act 2010
  • Dismissal: wrongful and unfair dismissal, economic dismissals
  • Human Rights in the Workplace: civil liberties of employees at work
  • Membership of Trade Unions, Worker Representation, and Collective Bargaining: freedom of workers to associate with each other and to act in association with each other
  • Industrial disputes: strikes, other industrial action and lockouts; rights and liabilities of individual workers who take industrial action; civil liabilities for organising industrial action – the economic torts, the ‘golden formula’ immunities and loss of immunity – industrial action ballots.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 40 hours across Michaelmas Term and Lent Term. This year some or all of this teaching will be delivered through recorded online lectures and a mix of both in-person and online classes to accommodate students who are unable to physically be on campus.  This course includes a reading week in Weeks 6 of Michaelmas Term and Lent Term.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 2 essays in MT and 2 essays in LT. Although students may be expected to perform a moot instead of one of those essays. 

Indicative reading

For a concise overview of the subject a suggestion is:

  • H. Collins, Employment Law (Oxford: OUP, 2nd ed, 2010).
  • See also P. Davies and M. Freedland (eds), Kahn-Freund’s Labour and the Law (London: Stevens and Son, 3rd ed, 1983) chapter 1.

The leading textbooks are

  • H. Collins, K.D.Ewing, A. McColgan, Labour Law: Law in Context (Cambridge: CUP, 2012);
  • S. Deakin & G. Morris, Labour Law (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 6th edn, 2012);
  • A.C. L. Davies, Perspectives on Labour Law, 2nd edn (Cambridge: CUP, 2009).


Exam (50%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.
Essay (50%, 4000 words) in the LT.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2019/20: 26

Average class size 2019/20: 13

Capped 2019/20: Yes (29)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills