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University of Exeter Business School

Employment Law for Managers

Module titleEmployment Law for Managers
Module codeBEM3057
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Stephen Taylor (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

In this module you will learn about the various ways in which the employment relationship is regulated in the UK. We will also draw on examples from other countries (particularly EU countries). The module is very practical in its orientation, focusing primarily on what managers with direct responsibility for recruiting, supervising and dismissing employees need to do in order to avoid breaching employment law and having to defend their organisations in the courts. We will also focus on the process of settling cases ahead of a formal hearing. You will gain a good understanding of all the main principles that underpin employment law in the UK, the principle statutes and leading cases. We will also explain how employment regulation has evolved and how it is likely to continue evolving in the future.

No pre-requisites for students taking this module. While it will be of particular interest to those who have completed BEM2021 in Year 2 and who are considering a career in human resource management, this is not essential. No prior knowledge of the UK legal system is required as this will be introduced in the first lectures.

Module aims - intentions of the module

Whilst organisations can source specialist advice on more difficult and unprecedented issues from their legal advisors, all managers need to be in a position to anticipate legal problems associated with proposed decisions or plans before they are implemented and to be sufficiently aware of major, current and coming developments in the regulatory environment so as to ensure that their organisations are fully prepared. If you are planning a career in Human Resource Management in particular you will require a good basic understanding of employment law so that you are in a position both to give advice to your organisation and, if necessary, lead its response when a formal legal claim is contemplated or pursued. The same is true if you plan to become a company secretary at some stage or to take on prime responsibility for managing employment matters in a more general management role.   

The purpose of this module is to provide final year students with the knowledge, understanding and skills required to fulfil each of these requirements to a professional standard. Because this module forms part of a management qualification and not a legal one, it is focused on enabling you to grasp fully the key principles which underpin employment law rather than to demonstrate advanced knowledge of legislation or case law. Moreover, our focus will be on situations which occur relatively regularly in workplaces rather than on more uncommon or obscure legal scenarios. Our aim is thus to increase your employability by providing you with the kind of a solid grounding in employment law that few managers have. You will also be more confident about giving advice and incorporating understanding of legal matters in decision-making across the field of HRM without the need to refer issues to a legal advisor..

The module is focused on UK employment law, so it will primarily be of interest to students who aim to practice management in the UK. However, a considerable portion of employment regulation that applies in the UK has a European origin and would thus be of interest and use for anyone looking to establish a management career within the EU.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Assess the purpose of employment regulation and the way it is enforced in practice
  • 2. Advise colleagues about significant legal implications of decisions, plans or proposals in the employment field.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Participate in informed debates about the impact of regulation on businesses
  • 4. Contribute to the establishment and maintenance of an effective and professional approach to the management of people in an organisation

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Manage issues such as recruitment, performance management, dismissal, pay and working time lawfully.
  • 6. Ensure that change and reorganisation episodes are carried out lawfully as far as people management is concerned

Syllabus plan

i)       Sources and institutions of UK employment law 

ii)      Accessing employment rights

iii)      Contracts of Employment

iv)      Discrimination law

v)       Dismissal law

vi)      Law on redundancy and reorganisation

vii)      Health and safety law

viii)     Wages and salaries

ix)     Family-friendly employment law

x)      Regulation of  trade union rights and industrial action

xi)      Preparing, presenting and settling employment tribunal cases.

xii)     Major debates about employment regulation and employment law reform

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Lectures and seminars4422 two hour sessions over 11 weeks. Each will comprise a lecture followed by structured discussion of case summaries
Preparation for seminar sessions22
Independent Study 84

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
In-class discussion of cases22AllVerbal

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written analysis of a seen case OR a tribunal report OR a critical analysis of an area of employment law753000 words1-6Written
Seen case study examination2590 minutes1-6Verbal

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written analysis of a seen case OR a tribunal report OR a critical analysis of an area of employment lawWritten analysis of a seen case OR a tribunal report OR a critical analysis of an area of employment law (3000 words)1-6July/August
Seen case study examinationSeen case study examination (90 minutes)1-6July/August

Re-assessment notes

Students who fail to pass will be required to re-work their original assignments so that they meet a pass standard.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

Davies, A: Perspectives on Labour Law. 2nd edition. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. 2009.

Honeyball, S: Great Debates: Employment Law. 2nd edition. Basingstoke, Palgrave. 2015

Lewis D & Sargeant M: Employment Law: The Essentials. CIPD. Fourteenth Edition. 2017.

Lockton, D: Employment Law. Ninth Edition. Palgrave. 2014.

Pitt, G: Employment Law. Sweet and Maxwell. Ninth Edition. 2014.

Taylor, S & Emir, A: Employment Law: An Introduction. Fifth Edition. 2018.

Turner, C: Unlocking Employment Law. Routledge. 2013.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Website of the Arbitration, Conciliation and Advisory Service (ACAS)

Website of DBEIS, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Website of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)

Website of the Equality and Human Rights Commission

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Full lecture notes will be provided and posted on the ELE along with self-test questions and case summaries.

The University Library is well-stocked with handbooks, monographs and journals covering all aspects of employment law.

Key words search

Employment law, regulation, human resource management

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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