Labour and employment law deals with relations between workers, employers and trade unions. The Chicago-Kent College of Law notes that labour law governs the relationships between groups of employees, such as labour unions and their employers, while employment law governs the relationships between individual employees and their employers.
Labour and employment law is a vital consideration for the vast majority of businesses and can vary significantly from country to country. In its International Labour and Employment Compliance Handbook, Wolters Kluwer notes: “as more and more companies invest overseas, the need for readily available, accurate and detailed knowledge of labour and employment laws in multiple jurisdictions becomes an essential resource for employers and their counsel.”
According to the International Bar Association, very few legal fields face the revolutionary changes that employment and industrial relations laws do: “issues such as technology, human rights, globalisation, corporate citizenship and increased movements of people have created unprecedented legal complexity as they interact with traditional laws often formulated decades ago.”
The University of Law highlights empathy as a quality that is frequently alluded to by those working in employment law, noting that this is primarily due to clients having to deal with unpleasant and personal allegations made against them.
“An employment lawyer therefore has to be very supportive to help stressed and vulnerable clients and at times trainees may be expected to advocate for their clients at an Employment Tribunal thus public speaking skills are certainly an advantage.”
The University of Law states that employment law is more legally technical than many areas of legal practice, therefore strong research skills are critical, along with organisational skills and the ability to adapt to constantly changing law.
Corporate INTL’s Annual Labour & Employment Practice Area Guide features leading professionals in this field in multiple locations around the world.