Employment Law Glossary A - E


The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service is government agency which has a role of helping to resolve employment disputes through conciliation.

Automatic unfair dismissal

This is a type of dismissal where the employee does not have to show their employer acted unreasonably in dismissing them. The employee will only have to show they were dismissed for a reason which the law defines as 'automatically' unfair.  The protection against automatic unfair dismissal exists from the first day of employment so no period of qualifying service is needed. Common examples of automatic unfair dismissal are dismissal for a reason relating to pregnancy or for a health and safety reason.


Link to a list of the automatic unfair dismissal reasons


This term usually refers to the bundle of documents that is prepared for use at an Employment Tribunal hearing. the bundle will usually include copies of all the documents the parties want to use at the hearing. Normally 4-6 copies of the bundle will need to be produced so that all the members of the tribunal, the witnesses and the parties have copies of the same documents to refer to at the hearing. The bundle will need to have the pages numbered and an index.


The documents to go into the bundle are the ones relevant to the issues the tribunal will decide. The contents are normally agreed by the parties before the hearing in accordance with the directions they have been given.

Case Management Discussion (CMD)

This is a type of hearing that is conducted by an Employment Tribunal Judge.


The Case Management Discussion (CMD) is intended to organise the case for hearing.  The Judge will usually seek to identfy the issues in the case, define the evidence and witnesses that will appear at the final hearing or identify whether some issues can be decided at a Pre-hearing Review.  The decisions made will be written down in 'directions' which the parties will be expected to observe.


A COT 3 form is used by ACAS to record the terms of a conciliated settlement in an employment claim. The COT 3 acts as a binding record which is legally enforcible between the parties.


A term used in legislation to refer to unfavourable treatment or disadvantage caused to an employee.


This is a term for the instructions issued by an Employment Tribunal after the ET3 is received from the employer.  Directions will lay down a timetabel for the actions the parties need to take to prepare the case for a hearing.  Failure to comply withy directions can lead to costs being awarded or a case being struck out.


Standard directions will include instructions on when to exchange documents and witness statements during the case and might be issued automatically.


Directions can also be made at Employment Tribunal hearings or Case Management Discussions.

Early Conciliation

This is a process that individuals making a claim to an employment tribunal must go through before the claim can be made. It is intended to promote settlement of tribunal cases withough the need to go to a tribunal. Individuals register their claim with ACAS who will then attempt to negotiate a settlement of the dispute. If conciliation fails a certificate will be issued by ACAS with a reference which must be used in the ET1 claim form to show the process has been followed.


more information on Early Conciliation

Effective date of termination (EDT)

This is a term used in empoyment legislation to define the date a contract of employment ends. It defines the date of the legal end of the contract - this might not be the same as the last date worked as notice periods may not need to be worked or holidays may need to be taken in the notice period. The 'EDT' will be the start date for time limits for claims made to the Employment Tribunal.


An employee is someone who is someone who agrees to a personal and continuing obligation to do work for another person and to work under the direction and control of the employer.  Employees therefore have a different legal status from workers.  The tem is defined under section 230(1) of the Employment Rights Act 1996.  Employee has a different and wider meaning under the Equality Act  2010 and can apply to anyone with a contract to do work personally(i.e. it includes workers).

Link to a summary of the rights applicable to employees

Employment status

Not all people in work have the same contractual position - they may have agreed to work in a variety of different ways.  The differences in their contractual position may lead to them being legally defined as an 'employee', a 'worker' or having 'self-employed' status.  Within these categories individuals may be working on a temporary, casual or agency basis.

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Zero increases by 26%

The Office for National Statistics has released new figures that show nearly 700,000 people work on zero hours contracts - up 26% from last year.  The problems caused by these contracts will require a significant change in the law.

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