• Claimant – An individual who has issued a claim in an employment tribunal.
  • Compromise Agreement – A written agreement, regulated by law, where an employee or worker agrees to give up their right to bring certain employment tribunal claims against their current or former employer. Compromise agreements were renamed as Settlement Agreements.
  • Constructive Dismissal – A constructive dismissal occurs where the employer does not dismiss the employee, but the employee resigns and can show that they were entitled to because of the employer’s fundamental breach of contract. A constructive dismissal may be an unfair dismissal and a wrongful dismissal as the employer has breached the employee’s contract of employment.
  • Discrimination – It is potentially unlawful to discriminate in relation to the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.
  • Dismissal – For the purposes of the law on unfair dismissal, the law provides that an employee is dismissed if:
    1. The employer terminates the employee’s contract of employment, either summarily or with notice.
    2. The employee resigns (with or without notice) and can establish that they were constructively dismissed.
    3. The employer does not renew a fixed-term contract on the expiry of the fixed term.
  • Employment Tribunal – A tribunal to hear and rule on certain disputes, including those arising out of employment. The cases are heard by a legally qualified Employment Judge who may sit alone, or with two lay members with appropriate experience.
  • Ex-gratia payment – payment made (for example, by an employer to an employee) where there is no contractual requirement to do so.
  • Flexible working – An umbrella term used to describe any method of working which deviates from the standard work pattern, including annualised hours, compressed hours, flexitime, home working, job-sharing, shift working, staggered hours, part-time working and term-time working.
  • Grievances- concerns, problems or complaints that employees raise with their employer.
  • Gross misconduct – Misconduct so serious as to justify summary dismissal of an employee. What constitutes gross misconduct may vary according to the particular circumstances of the employer and the work the employee is carrying out. Acts of gross misconduct, such as theft, fraud, physical violence, serious negligence or serious breach of health and safety regulations, will result in a serious breach of contractual terms and examples of such conduct will usually be given in an organisation’s disciplinary procedure.
  • Keeping in touch days – A total period of up to ten days during which an employee may carry out work for their employer during their maternity allowance period, statutory maternity leave period, additional paternity leave period or statutory adoption leave period, without bringing their maternity, paternity or adoption leave to an end. For these purposes, “work” means any work done under the contract of employment and may include training or any activity undertaken for the purposes of keeping in touch with the workplace.
  • Maternity Leave – A period of time off work to which an employee can be entitled because of a child’s birth. This may be statutory maternity leave and/or other leave granted by the employer, either contractually or on an ex gratia basis.
  • Parental Leave – A period of unpaid leave available to an employee who has completed one year’s continuous employment and who has or expects to have responsibility for a child under the age of 18, to care for that child.
  • Paternity Leave – A period of time off work on the birth or adoption of a child, taken by the child’s father, the mother’s partner, or other adoptive parent. This may be statutory paternity leave and/or other leave granted by the employer, either contractually or on an ex gratia basis.
  • Payment in lieu of notice – A contractual right to pay an employee a lump sum rather than require them to serve out their statutory or contractual notice period.
  • Redundancy – One of the five potentially fair reasons for dismissing an employee which the employer must establish to show that an employee was not unfairly dismissed. To ensure that such a dismissal is fair, an employer must demonstrate there is a redundancy situation i.e. where an employer decides to reduce the number of its employees, either within the business as a whole or within a particular site, business unit, function or job role.
  • Settlement Agreement – An agreement (formerly known as a compromise agreement) whereby an employee or worker agrees not to pursue certain statutory employment tribunal claims against the employer. Settlement Agreements are commonly used to record an employee’s terms of departure where they are to receive a termination payment in return for the settlement of all actual and potential statutory and contractual claims against the employer.
  • Shared Parental Leave – A statutory entitlement available to eligible employees who are new parents (including adoptive parents), enabling up to 50 weeks of the statutory maternity leave or statutory adoption leave entitlement to be taken more flexibly within the first year after birth or placement for adoption, by either parent or shared between both parents.
  • Statutory Redundancy Payment – A statutory payment due to an employee with two years’ continuous employment who is dismissed by reason of redundancy. The amount of the payment is calculated according to a formula based on the employee’s age, length of service and weeks’ pay (subject to a statutory limit).
  • Summary Dismissal – Immediate dismissal of an employee without notice. This will be a wrongful dismissal unless it is in response to the employee’s gross misconduct or another fundamental breach of contract by the employee.
  • Unfair dismissal – A dismissal of an employee in contravention of section 98 of the Employment Rights Act (“ERA”) 1996. For a dismissal to be fair it must be for one of the five potentially fair reasons in the ERA 1996 (conduct, capability, redundancy, breach of a statutory restriction or “some other substantial reason”). The employer must follow a fair procedure and the decision to dismiss must be within the range of reasonable responses open to an employer in the circumstances.
  • Whistleblowing – the act of a worker making a qualifying disclosure, in good faith, to an employer, regulator, legal adviser, minister or other responsible or prescribed person about a dangerous or illegal activity or omission. In these circumstances, and subject to fulfilling certain criteria, it will be a protected disclosure and the whistleblower will be protected from being dismissed or subjected to a detriment because of the disclosure.
  • Wrongful dismissal – The dismissal of an employee by an employer in breach of the contract of employment. Unlike in an unfair dismissal claim, fairness is not an issue: the sole question is whether the terms of the contract have been breached. The employee will have a claim in damages if the employer, in dismissing them, breached the contract and thereby caused the employee to suffer loss.