Honesty is fundamental in any relationship – including the employment relationship.
So many clients I have seen over the years have asked me whether they should tell the truth. Others have come for advice when it’s too late and they’ve already not told the truth.
Some classic work dishonesty
- Not being truthful about salary at previous job or reason for leaving
- Covering up mistakes
- Pulling sickies and making up a reason for absence
- Fabricating expense claims
- Denying misconduct in general
The importance of honesty
In the employment contract, aside from the written express terms, there are some terms which are implied into the contract. One of these terms is mutual obligation of trust and confidence. If you have been dishonest or untruthful it’s most likely that you will have breached trust and confidence. An employer would usually be entitled to dismiss for gross misconduct without notice.
Generally, employees who have at least two years’ service have the right not to be unfairly dismissed. However, breach of trust and confidence/misconduct would provide an employer with a fair reason to dismiss. Dismissal would have to be an appropriate sanction.The employer would also have to follow a fair procedure (including carrying out a reasonable investigation, holding a disciplinary hearing, taking mitigating factors into account and offering an appeal).
It works both ways
Employers also owe an implied obligation of trust and confidence to their employees. If a boss lies to a member of staff this could constitute breach of trust and confidence.
Employees who have at least two years’ service could consider resigning and claiming constructive unfair dismissal. The employee would need to resign swiftly in response to a fundamental breach of contract.
Such claims are not always easy to bring, and employees should obtain advice before resigning.
Remember that the employment relationship is built on trust. In order to have a successful relationship both sides need to feel comfortable with each other. This means that it’s far better to be open, transparent, direct and sincere.
It makes no sense to play games and pretend, for example, that you know less about something than you really do.
You may think that you’re being clever but actually you’re wrecking what could otherwise be a happy bond.
If you need advice on any employment law issues please call me on 0203 797 1264.