Reminder to employers to follow company values when consulting with employees

By Helen Burgess

The recent judgment in IBM UK Holdings Ltd v Dalgleish and others provides a salutary reminder to employers to stick to their core values or face potential claims that they have breached the implied duty of trust and confidence.

Every contract of employment has implied into it a duty on both the employer and the employee to act in a way that preserves trust and confidence between them.

Employees are entitled to rely on their employer’s previous conduct, as well as the ethical values that the employer holds itself out as having, to determine what may be a breach of that implied duty of trust and confidence. In this case, IBM was held to have breached the implied duty in its handling of a consultation on pensions, partly due to a failure to stick to its core values…

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