Don’t soft-soap a dismissal!

November 28, 2017

An employee who was told that he was being dismissed resigned and brought a breach of contract claim. The employer had misled the employee as to the real reason for his dismissal when it told him he was being dismissed due to a reorganisation of legal services rather than because of his capabilities..


The reason that the employer did this was because it wanted to soften the blow of dismissal and because it wanted the employee to work his notice period and participate in a handover of his work. The Court found that by deciding to give the employee a reason for the termination of his employment, the employer had assumed an obligation not to mislead. The employer breached that obligation.


The Court held the employer's conduct had breached the implied term of mutual trust and confidence, and the claim did not relate to the manner of dismissal, which had been argued by the employer, as the employer's actions were intended to keep the employment relationship alive.


Accordingly, the employer breached implied term of trust and confidence when it gave a false reason for employee's dismissal (Rawlinson v Brightside Group Ltd UKEAT/0142/17.)

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