An integral component of any society is the world of work. Work is a human activity which engages every one of us at some point in our lives and work is an essential component in the creation of a society’s wealth and prosperity. Ensuring an appropriate balance between the rights and obligations under the law of those who hire labour and those who provide their labour is vital to the economic health and success of a society. Therefore, the legal regulation of the relationship between employers and employees/workers is something which is of concern to society as a whole. Within this research field, the sources of legal regulation emanate not only from the UK Parliament, Courts and Tribunals; very significant legislative measures are also adopted by the EU (e.g. the Working Time Directive) and important judgments are issued regularly by the EU Court of Justice. Further, a number of employment protection rights may now be regarded as fundamental rights, as a result of the jurisprudence of the Court and the enhanced status of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights under the Lisbon Treaties.
Research in this field within the Law Division at Abertay University focuses on two interlocking strands of employment law:
- the effectiveness of the two principal strategies deployed in the UK to act as a counterbalance to the unequal bargaining position of employers/employees: (a) the role of UK/EU statutory employment protection rights; and (b) the role of collective bargaining between trade unions and employers;
- the development of what have been termed ‘family friendly’ policies, which involve the creation of a range of statutory rights e.g. maternity, paternity, parental and adoption leave, and other related rights that are designed to promote and enhance ‘work/life balance’.
Further, both of these strands encompass the aims of the Equality Act 2010 which prohibits unlawful discrimination on the grounds of a ‘protected characteristic’: sex, race, disability, religious or other belief, age or sexual orientation.
James Murphie is a part-time member of academic staff at Abertay University as well as being a practising member of the Faculty of Advocates. He specialises in advising and representing clients in a range of Employment Law and Discrimination matters.
Dr Michelle Weldon-Johns is engaged in post-doctoral research in the field of ‘family friendly’ employment rights.
Weldon-Johns, M. EU Work – Family Policies – Challenging Parental Roles or Reinforcing Gendered Stereotypes, European Law Journal, Vol 19, No. 2, March 2013.
Murphie, J. The Employer's Right to Rewrite the Contract? Juridical Review 2011, Issue 4, 331-347
Weldon-Johns, M. Comparative lessons on the work-family conflict – Swedish parental leave versus American family leave, pages 116 to 113, chapter 7 in Busby, Nicole and James, Grace, Families, Care-giving and Paid Work, Edward Elgar, 2011.
Murphie, J. Implementation of the ‘Agency Workers Directive’ (2008/104/EC) in the UK, 2011 Scottish Law Gazette 85
Weldon-Johns, M. The Additional Paternity Leave Regulations 2010: a new dawn or more ‘sound-bite’ legislation? Journal of Social Welfare & Family Law, Vol. 33, No. 11, March 2011, 25-36.
Murphie, J. Road Traffic Accidents, chapter 22 in Thomson J (ed.) Delict, W. Green, Edinburgh (under the auspices of the Scottish Universities Law Institute), 2010
Murphie, J. Scottish Update to Employment Law & Health & Safety chapters of the Architects’ Legal Handbook, 9th ed., Elsevier Ltd, Oxford, 2010
Murphie, J. Quit Order to Mum ‘Illegal’, interview with Dundee Courier & Evening Telegraph re: compatibility of deportation order on non-EU citizen with EU Treaty, 14th-15th October 2009
Murphie, J. In Defence of the Employer’s Defence?-Case C-127/05 Commission –v- UK, Scottish Law Gazette, vol.75 No.6, 208, 2007