Editor's message: The contract of employment forms the backbone of the employment relationship. There is no obligation on employers to put contracts in writing (although certain key employment terms must be set out in a written statement of employment particulars). However, oral or ambiguous terms have the potential to lead to disputes - so it is advisable to make sure your terms are clearly set out in writing, so that everyone understands what has been agreed.
While express contractual terms are those agreed between the organisation and the employee - or incorporated from, for example, a collective agreement or a staff handbook - terms may also be implied into the contract. Often this will be by custom or practice, or the parties' conduct, or because of what a court or tribunal deems must have been intended when the two parties entered into the contract.
One of the most important implied terms is the implied duty of mutual trust and confidence - employees claiming that they have been constructively dismissed often cite a breach of this implied term.
Clio Springer, senior employment law editor
Updated to include a reference to Shanks v Unilever plc and others, in which the Supreme Court considered an employee's entitlement to compensation for a patented invention made during the course of employment.
In Shanks v Unilever plc and others, the Supreme Court held that the employee was entitled to receive compensation for his invention because it had been of outstanding benefit to his employer.
Updated to reflect that the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal in Curless v Shell International Ltd.
In Upton-Hansen Architects Ltd v Gyftaki, the Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld the tribunal decision that the employee's suspension was in breach of the implied term of trust and confidence. The employee was constructively dismissed and, in the absence of a potentially fair reason, the dismissal was unfair.
Updated to include information on Okedina v Chikale, in which the Court of Appeal considered if contractual claims could be blocked due to illegal working.
Updated to include information on Hallett v Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, concerning a junior doctor's terms and conditions on the monitoring of rest breaks.
In The Harpur Trust v Brazel, the Court of Appeal held that holiday pay for "part-year workers" should not be calculated on a pro rata basis, but by applying the approach set out in s.224 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 and calculating average weekly remuneration over the previous 12 weeks.
In Okedina v Chikale, the Court of Appeal held that a worker's former employer could not block her contractual claims by arguing that she was working without the required immigration status.
Updated to include information on the maximum amount of a week's pay for the purpose of compensation for breach of the written particulars requirements, effective from 6 April 2020.
The government has announced legislation to address the misuse of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in the workplace - including clauses designed to cover up sexual harassment, racial discrimination and assault.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to contracts of employment.