Employment legislation

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This act lays down the legal framework covering the buying and selling of goods. The act only applies to sales by a business to the public. It covers sales in shops and showrooms, and by market stalls, mail order and any kind of direct sales. The act does not cover private sales. Under the act: o Goods must be of ‘merchantable quality’, which means they should be fit for ordinary use: they must work and be free from faults. The merchantable quality partly depends on the price paid for the goods. More expensive goods are expected to be of a higher quality. There are two exceptions to the rule.

Buyers cannot complain that goods are not of merchantable quality if: – the seller points out defects when the goods were bought; – the buyer has examined the goods before buying them and has been satisfied they were all right. o Goods are assumed to be ‘fit for purpose’. That is, the goods will do what they are bought for, especially if the buyer has asked the seller for advice before buying the goods. o Goods must be ‘as described’. That is they must be exactly as they are described in catalogues or other sales material, or by a salesperson. For example, a sweater described as ‘100% pure wool’ must not contain any other fibre.

Trade description act This act makes it an offence for a seller to describe goods and services falsely, in advertisements, notices, sales literature or by a salesperson at the point of sale. False descriptions of all kinds are covered. For e. g. a photograph that gives a wrong impression, or maker, or purpose of the goods. Misleading claims about prices are also part of the Act. It is an offence to: o Make a false claim that goods are being sold below the recommended price; o Make a false comparison with a previous price, for example saying that goods have been reduced from i?? 30 to i?? 20 when they have been sold at i??

20 for the last three months. o Suggest that the price is lower than it actually is because there are hidden extra costs. For e. g. the cost of packing and delivery have to be added to arrive at the full price. Unsolicited Goods and Services Act This is a law to protect people from inertia selling. Someone who receives goods they have not ordered does not have to pay for either the goods or the cost of returning them. If the sender does not collect them within 6 months the goods can be kept or sold. This is cut down to 30 days if the receiver writes to the sender asking them to collect the goods.

Although the Act applies to and refers to a woman’s contract compared with a man’s, it applies equally to a man’s contract compared with a woman’s too. The effect is that a woman should not be paid less than a man in the same job. However the law is quite complex and employers can draw distinctions between the work that men and women do that justify lower pay. Applications under the Act are far from straightforward. A woman (or man) has to have six month’s continuous employment to bring an Equal Pay Act application to a Tribunal. Health and Safety at Work Act This act covers every kind of place of work.

Factories, offices, farms, schools and colleges are all included. It sets out the duties and responsibilities of employers and employees for health and safety at work. What the lawyers call a ‘general duty of care’ is placed on everyone in a place of work. This means that everyone in a place of work, including visitors, is responsible for his or her own and other people’s health and safety. Employers duties: o To provide a safe place to work, including safe machinery and safe working methods. For e. g. making sure there are no trailing wires and that entrances and exits are not obstructed.

o To enforce safety regulations and safety standards. For e. g. must be guarded and workers made to use a machine only when it is guarded. o To provide safety training and adequate safety supervision. All accidents must be recorded and investigated and the cause put right. Employees duties: o To report any defects in machinery or equipment, or in working areas. o Not to interfere with anything provided for their own safety and that of others/ for e. g. machine guards can slow a worker down. Interfering with a guard is dangerous and may lead to an accident. o To protect themselves and others in their work area.

For e. g. by wearing safety clothing and not leaving things around that might cause someone to bump into or fall over them. The Disability Discrimination Act: The employment provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (“DDA”) apply to employment at an establishment in Great Britain. All employers now have to comply with the Act. It is unlawful to directly discriminate a person because of their disability by treating them less favourably than the employer would treat a person without that disability, whose relevant circumstances (including ability) are the same as, or not materially different from, those of the disabled person.

This discrimination cannot be justified. It is unlawful to treat a disabled person less favourably for a reason related to his disability than the employer treats or would treat a person to whom the reason for the treatment does not apply AND the employer cannot show that the treatment is justified. An employer has a duty to take such steps as being reasonable to prevent any arrangements made by him, or on his behalf, or any physical features of his premises from placing a disabled applicant or employee at a substantial disadvantage compared with those who are not disabled.

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