Relationships of Trust and Confidence in the Workplace
Mutual trust and confidence is a phrase used in English law, particularly with reference to contracts in UK labour law, to refer to the obligations owed in an employment relationship between the employer and the worker. The duty of mutual trust and confidence in the workplace, how an employer appointment where the relationship has broken down – however. The duty reflects an essential aspect of the relationship between employer and employee. Whilst trust and confidence is maintained, the.
Generally, the requirement upon an employer is to treat its employees fairly and reasonably and to refrain from abusing its power or acting improperly e.
Mutual trust and confidence - Wikipedia
Facts Mr McDonald was a school teacher who was also given, in addition to his teaching duties, responsibility for the repair and maintenance of the school IT equipment. Mr McDonald asserted that he was not trained to do the IT work and was unable to cope with the stress caused by his workload and additional responsibilities. Mr McDonald raised grievances with his employer, the Minister for Education. However, allegedly, those grievances were not adequately addressed and Mr McDonald was given no support by his employer.
Instead, Mr McDonald was allegedly bullied and harassed by various colleagues and victimised as a result of having raised grievances.
Mr McDonald asserted that his employer breached, among other things, the duty of trust and confidence which was implied into his employment contract. Therefore, damages should be paid to Mr McDonald to compensate him for his loss of earnings and entitlements. The decision at first instance was discussed in detail in our September issue of Enterprise.
It should not be accepted as applicable, by the judicial branch of government, to employment contracts in Australia. Unlike the joint judgment reasons, Kiefel J expressly addressed the role that trust and confidence plays in the general law of employment in Australia. The propositions found in her reasons on that score are: There is a duty on an employee not to engage in conduct that would be serious enough to have the effect that the employer could not reasonably be expected to have confidence in the employee.
Cornell Law Review
That is, conduct on the part of an employee which is incompatible with their good faith duty as an employee, involves conflict between his interests and that duty, or is destructive of the necessary confidence between employer and employee is a ground of summary dismissal: It refers to conduct, on the part of an employee, which is contrary to the interests of the employer and serious enough to have the effect that the employer could not reasonably be expected to have confidence in the employee.
The duty reflects an essential aspect of the relationship between employer and employee. Whilst trust and confidence is maintained, the relationship endures.The Psychology of Trust - Anne Böckler-Raettig - TEDxFrankfurt
Yet the law recognises that, where a point of no confidence is reached, it would be intolerable for the employer to continue with the relationship. In such a circumstance, termination of the employment is justified.
While there are several and differing strands of reasoning in the judgments in Barker, and while the role of trust and confidence in the general law beyond its connection with the rejected implied term of mutual trust and confidence is really only addressed directly in the judgment of Kiefel J, it may nevertheless be suggested that the basic position in the general law of employment in Australia is that: There is continuing judicial recognition that, at least generally speaking, an employment relationship rests upon an employer having a level of faith and confidence in the employee which is appropriate to the circumstances of the employment; A corollary of that is that employee conduct which is incompatible with the survival of that necessary level of trust and confidence is therefore conduct that entitles the employer to dismiss the employee under the general law.
This principle can be expressed in terms that an employee has a legal duty not to act in that way. These matters are captured in the passage set out above from the judgment of Kiefel J in Barker.
"Relationships of Trust and Confidence in the Workplace" by Deborah A. DeMott
As we see it, all this serves to make the point that in the general law of employment there is no implied contractual term that both employer and employee should not act in a way that destroys or seriously damages the existence of trust and confidence between them. However, the role that the concept of trust and confidence performs in the general law of employment is to provide the foundation for the recognition of a broad duty owed by employees with respect to their conduct in employment.
It should, however, be said that it is not a convenient label to stick on any situation in which the employer feels let down by an employee or which the employer can use as a valid reason for dismissal whenever the conduct reason is not available or appropriate.
In terms of the guidance to be drawn from the above criticisms, employers who believe trust and confidence in an employee may have broken down and are considering dismissing the employee should always focus on the underlying reasons as to why that position has been reached and then, based on those underlying reasons, seek to select a more conventional reason for dismissal. Concerns around over-use by Employees As stated, employers are not, however, alone in facing some criticism for over-reliance on the ITTC and employees have also faced similar criticism.
The Implied Term of Trust and Confidence: key things you need to know
But unreasonable conduct by an employer is so often said by a claimant to be a breach of the ITTC that there are some ETs which have [wrongly] accepted this.
Conduct which is mildly or moderately objectionable will not do. The conduct must go to the heart of the relationship. To show some damage to the relationship is not enough.