Breach of Trust and Confidence Claims
The term ‘mutual trust and confidence’ is commonly used in employment law and is in every employment contract in the UK, either implicitly or explicitly. This term can be breached through a range of poor work-related behaviour, such as verbal abuse, sexual harassment, harsh disciplinary standards and undermining management authority.
If an employer fundamentally breaches the obligation not to damage trust and confidence, an employee is able to accept the breach and treat the employment relationship and contract as repudiated. The Employment Appeal Tribunal has stated that “Conduct which amounts to a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence will mean that there has been a fundamental or repudiatory breach going to the root of the contract”.
The nuances of the law of trust and confidence in case law can often be difficult to understand alone.
At Annecto Legal, we can connect you with one of our solicitor members who can advise you on your case. We can also help you secure the most appropriate litigation funding for your case, as we understand that covering the cost of the legal support you require is not always easy.
Where can contract terms be found?
Contractual terms in employment can come from a number of different sources. These include:
- Verbal agreements (also known as ‘express terms’)
- Written statements that include key terms such as job role, hours, pay etc.
- Employee handbooks
- In an offer letter from your employer when you first started the job
- Requirements by law, such as minimum wage and holiday standards
- In collective agreements (made between employers and trade unions or staff associations)
Implied terms within contracts
There are also ‘implied terms’ which are included within contracts that are not likely to be written down but are understood to exist due to the conduct of the parties involved. These terms should be obvious to both parties included in the contract. If something has not been clearly agreed between you and your employer about a particular matter, it may be covered by an implied term.
Implied terms of trust are included within a contract to ensure that the contract works, as they are obvious and custom by practice. One of the most important implied terms is the duty of mutual trust and confidence.
This term means that you and your employer rely on one another to be respectful and honest and should not conduct yourselves in a manner calculated to seriously damage or destroy the mutual relationship of trust and confidence between you both.
Examples of breaches of trust and confidence
There are obligations that cover many situations in which a balance must be struck between an employer managing a business and the employee’s interest in not being improperly or unfairly mistreated. Examples of what may be considered as an employer’s breach of the duty of trust and confidence include the following:
- Unjustified/continual criticism of the employee over a period of time
- Failure to investigate an employee’s complaints or grievances
- Reprimanding a senior employee in front of other employees
- Unreasonable and unjustified workplace monitoring of employees
- Failure to follow company standards and procedures
- Deceiving an employee
- Forcing an employee to complete excessive workloads
- Undermining an employee’s authority in crucial areas
- Falsely accusing an employee of theft without the grounds to do so
- Giving unjustified warnings to an employee to dishearten them or force them from employment
- Being responsible for psychiatric injury to an employee
The duty of trust and confidence covers the concept of fair dealing on the part of the employer. If it is found that the employer breached this duty, an employee may be justified in treating their contract as being unlawfully breached, which may then enable them to resign and claim constructive dismissal.
Constructive dismissal is a situation in which the employer has committed a fundamental breach of contract, entitling, or forcing the employee to resign as a result of their employer’s conduct.
When an employee is constructively dismissed, the employer’s conduct is considered to be a ‘repudiatory breach’. This is different to an unfair dismissal as that is a situation in which the way you were sacked was deemed unlawful.
What can I do following a breach of trust and confidence
After a breach of trust and confidence has occurred, employees can make a claim to compensate them for breach of the implied term of trust and confidence, or for constructive dismissal.
A constructive dismissal claim can be made by a party if they are classed as an employee and have been working in said job role for at least two years.
Breach of contract claims can be heard in an Employment Tribunal, High Court, or County Court. However, breach of contract claims can only be made in an Employment Tribunal if employment has ended.
How can Annecto Legal assist with a breach of trust and confidence?
Regardless of the nature of the contract of employment that has been broken, it is essential that you seek specialist advice right away. Annecto Legal is experienced in helping individuals and businesses in bringing successful breach of trust and confidence claims against other parties, by using a combination of legal expertise and appropriate litigation funding and insurance in order to present the strongest possible case to the opponent.
Although Annecto Legal do not deal with employment law claims, we can pass your enquiry onto a firm of solicitors who can assist.
Annecto Legal are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority FRN: 707558 as an Appointed Representative of 2direct Limited. We are not a firm of solicitors nor a claims management company. We do not receive payments for passing enquiries onto firms of solicitors.
The firms we may pass you onto are independent firms and not linked with Annecto Legal in any way. If you proceed to make a claim, we can assist by providing funding or legal expenses insurance for your case
Contact Annecto Legal now to discuss your claim, be put in touch with specialist breach of trust and confidence solicitors or to get information about managing the financial risks of litigation in these types of cases.
Get in touch
* Annecto Legal can only assist on case where the loss is in excess of £100,000, with the exception of data breach claims. If you need assistance on a claim worth over £100,000, please get in touch using our form or the details below:
Annecto Legal Ltd, 106 Kennedy Building, Murray Street, Manchester , M4 6HS
71 Central Street, London, EC1V 8AB
0800 612 6587