LayerSlider – Conveyancing 26Jan18 – Base

Employment Law – The Basics

Employment law is an area where we see little change in legal practice. It is also an area where much of the leading case law is now remarkably old, having laid down the principal points of interpretation at an early stage in this law’s history.¹ In a week which has seen Manchester United manager David Moyes being relieved of his duties, 10 months into a 6 year contract, we will briefly define some common terms used in employment law and look at what grounds you may have to make this type of claim.   

Gross Misconduct 

Gross misconduct refers to dismissal resulting from an employee acting in such a way as to repudiate their contract.¹ This basically means that if you have taken an action which is seen as being out of line and seriously damaging enough to the business you may be dismissed. Examples of gross misconduct would be:

    • Endangering the safety of another employee
    • Theft
    • Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the workplace
    • Dishonesty/Fraud
    • Assault

Unfair Dismissal

In certain situations you may be able to take legal action if you have been dismissed. From the point of view of the employee your rights will be dependent on the following:

    • your contract
    • the actions of your employer
    • the applicable legislation
    • your employment status

Employers must ensure that their disciplinary procedures are up to date and may generally only dismiss an employee if it relates to:

    • Redundancy
    • The employees conduct
    • The qualification to perform the work they are employed for or employees capability
    • A breach of statutory duty

Unfortunately for David Moyes a clause in his contract, being nicknamed ‘the ejector seat clause’, means that his failure to qualify for the champions league sees him only being entitled to 12 months severance despite signing a 6 year contract. 


Workplace discrimination relates to any unfair treatment at work which relates to a characteristic of the claimant which is protected by law such as:

    • Race
    • Religion
    • Political opinion
    • Disability
    • Sex
    • Pregnancy
    • Gender Reassignment
    • Age
    • Sexual Orientation
    • Marital or Civil Partnership status

It is a common misconception that discrimination can only happen during the period of employment or at the point of dismissal. Discrimination can occur during recruitment, so as soon as an employer advertises a vacancy, it is possible to unlawfully discriminate against an applicant. Discrimination can also occur with former employees such as during the provision of a reference.

Speak to us

Whether you feel like David Moyes, an employee who has been mistreated, or like Manchester United, an employer looking to draw up a new employment contract, MKB Law can help you today. To arrange a discussion with Belfast’s best employment law solicitors please call us on 028 9024 2450 or email us at

1.The New Law Journal > 2014 Volume 164 > Issue 7599, March > Articles > Employment law brief – 164 NLJ 9

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