The employment relationship is contractual, with rights and obligations on both sides. As well as the express terms set out in writing, every employment contract has the following implied terms:
- to maintain trust and confidence through co-operation
- to act in good faith towards each other
- to take reasonable care to ensure health and safety in the workplace
A recent illustration of the first two was to be found in remarks made by prominent individuals in football.
Did Roy Hodgson breach the implied term of mutual trust and confidence by discussing Rio Ferdinand’s England future with fellow London Underground passengers?
And did Ashley Cole similarly breach the implied term of mutual trust and confidence when he tweeted criticising the Football Association? (We shall have to await the outcome of the disciplinary process to find out.)
Both employers and employees should understand that the implied term of mutual trust and confidence works both ways. As for social networking, employers should have a clearly worded policy - and make employees aware of it - setting out the rules and sanctions.
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