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Unit Overview


This unit involves an examination of the individual employment relationship between employer and employee. Among the topics given special attention are the contract of employment and its importance at common law and under statute; rights and duties of the respective parties; remedies for breach of the contract of employment; unfair and unlawful termination of employment under state and federal statutes; and selected aspects of the systems of regulation under Commonwealth legislation including, in particular, modern awards and enterprise agreements.

6 points
Not available in 2024UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) demonstrate knowledge at an advanced level of (a) the purpose of the laws which govern employment; (b) the common law and statutory laws (both state and federal) which regulate the legal rights and responsibilities of employers and employees; (c) the classification of different forms of work relationships; (2) demonstrate the ability to identify and apply relevant legal rules and principles in circumstances involving (a) the lawful termination of contracts of employment; and (b) the wrongful termination of contracts of employment; (3) understand and apply, at an advanced level, (a) the statutory actions and forms of relief available to employees whose employment has been terminated unfairly; and (b) the statutory actions and forms of relief available to employees whose employment has been terminated for proscribed reasons ('unlawfully'); (4) demonstrate (a) the ability to reflect upon and respond to ethical issues arising in the employment context, including unlawful discrimination, bullying and harassment in connection with employment and (b) a developing ability to demonstrate professional judgment; and (5) identify, research, evaluate and synthesise legal problems and conflicts arising in employment law; and recognise and articulate the complex policy issues associated with employment relationships.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) in-class exercise and (2) final examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Emeritus Professor William Ford
Unit rules
Enrolment in
20820 Juris Doctor
and LAWS4101 Foundations of Law and Lawyering
and 30 points ( LAWS4102 Criminal Law
, LAWS4103 Contract
, LAWS4104 Property
, LAWS4106 Torts
, LAWS4107 Land Law
, LAWS4108 Foundations of Public Law and ( LAWS4109 Legal Theory and Ethics
or LAWS4110 Interpretation

Collins, H. Employment Law, 2nd edn: OUP 2010.

Stewart, A. Stewart’s Guide to Employment Law, 7th edn: Federation Press 2021.

reference works

Creighton, W. B. and Stewart, A., et al.  Labour Law: an Introduction, 6th edn: Federation Press 2016.

Owens, R. and Riley, J. The Law of Work, 2nd edn: OUP 2012.

Sappideen, C. et al. Macken’s Law of Employment, 8th edn: Lawbook Co. 2016.

resources and
reading material

Freedland, M. The Personal Employment Contract: OUP 2006.

Pittard, M. J. and Naughton, R. B. Australian Labour and Employment Law: LexisNexis Butterworths 2014.

Floyd, L. et al. Employment, Labour and Industrial Law in Australia: Cambridge UP 2018.

Cases, articles and other monographs as referred to during the unit.

Statutes as referred to during the unit including:

Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA) ('IRA 1979').

Minimum Conditions of Employment Act 1993 (WA) ('MCE 1993').

Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).



  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.