Employment Rights


We help UAL students and graduates understand and access their employment rights.

We advise about anything to do with rights at work. If your query falls outside of our area of knowledge, we can signpost you to a service that can help, so it is always worth getting in touch.

The types of things we advise about are:

  • Unpaid internships: What to do if you’ve not been paid, or had a bad experience.
  • Placement students: Your rights on your placement, and what you can do if something goes wrong.
  • Freelancer contracts: Why do you need one and what are the types of things you should include.
  • Payment: What to do if your client is not paying up, can you claim interest?
  • Discrimination: Are you being treated unfairly at work, what can you do about it?
  • Changes to your contract: What can you do if your boss changes your entitlements, what about if you have a zero-hours contract?
  • Dismissals: We can advise about the fair process for disciplinary procedures, or what to do if you are dismissed.

Please note that the information presented is accurate as of May 2016

If you have any further questions click here to find out more information on alternative services you can contact.



Case studies

Unpaid internship: Ediri's case

Pay Your InternsEdiri withdrew from an uncontracted unpaid internship as a stylist’s assistant when he realised that, despite advertising the internship as paid, the employer was refusing to pay his travel expenses.

Our advice

We identified his rights as a worker. We helped him to gather evidence and set out his case to his employer. When this didn’t work, we provided representation and mediated with the employer, and also the ACAS conciliation service.


"The employer refused to pay travel expenses, so with the help of Students’ Union Advice Service I managed to get my money back. I found the support to be friendly, responsive and effective.” Ediri, London College of Fashion

If like Ediri you have questions about your rights as an intern or a worker, check out the Arts SU Guide to Internships.

Guide to Internships



Not being paid for work: Liz's case

Not being paid for workLiz contacted us when her client refused to pay her for the design work that she had produced, arguing that she had agreed to do the work for free.

Our advice

We identified her right to be paid for the work she had done. We helped her to prepare a letter setting out her claim and advised about ways that she could protect herself as a self-employed freelancer.


We helped Liz receive the £450 she was owed for her designs. Liz, London College of Communication.

If you’re waiting for money from a client, read the Arts SU Guide to Late Payments.

Guide to Late Payments




Employment rights: Alex's case

Employment RightsAlex was working part time for a fashion designer when she was accused of gross misconduct and called into a disciplinary meeting.

Our advice

Alex contacted the service fearing that she was going to be sacked. We advised about the correct procedures and as a result the meeting was downgraded to an investigation meeting, where no disciplinary action could be taken.


Alex was supported through the meetings and did not lose her job. She said: “I would like to take this chance and sincerely thank you for all your support! Your advice has been really helpful, you made me understand my rights and not feel scared.” Alex, University of the Arts London

Struggling to understand your rights as an employee? Check out the Arts SU Employment Rights Factsheet.

Employment Rights Factsheet


Employment Rights events



What employment and IP rights do you have as a freelancer? What clauses should you include in a contract with a commissioner to ensure you are paid? How can you ensure you can showcase work you have produced as a freelancer or employee? Leanne Good, former legal adviser at Arts SU and Silvia Baumgart, Own-it Programme Manager at UAL Careers and Employability, share their expertise in employment law and IP and answer your questions.

We run loads of college based events throughout the year, from workshops to Advice Service drop-ins. If you’d like us to come to your college and run a session, let us know by emailing advice@su.arts.ac.uk

Listen to podcasts from our previous workshops on Soundcloud.



Interested in the chance to showcase your work, learn and develop your practice? Find out more about our creative opportunities at Arts SU.

Looking for a job or internship? Head to UAL's Creative Opportunities jobs and internships website.

Please note that the resources available on this website are accurate as of May 2016

If you have any further questions click here to find out more information on alternative services you can contact.