"The Common Law is … not what it used to be"*: Revisiting Recognition of a Constitutionally-Inspired Implied Duty of Fair Dealing in the Common Law Contract of Employment (Part 3)

Revisiting Recognition of a Constitutionally-Inspired Implied Duty of Fair Dealing in the Common Law Contract of Employment - Part 3

  • Andre Louw Stellenbosch University
Keywords: Common-law employment contract, labour legislation, good faith, fairness, implied duty of trust and confidence, implied duty of fair dealing, constitutional development of the common law, right to fair labour practices, breach of employment contract

Abstract

This piece, which is in three parts, will revisit the importation of fairness into the employment contract (outside and independent of the fairness-based provisions of our labour legislation) by a line of Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgments during the 2000s. This process culminated in the recognition of an "implied duty of fair dealing" in the common-law employment contract. This piece will discuss such developments, will argue that such an implied duty still forms part of our law (despite the apparent consensus in the literature that the SCA turned its back on such earlier judgments), will critically examine some of the arguments for and against the recognition of such a duty, and will then consider the issue within the broader context of the role of good faith and fairness in our general law of contract.

References

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Alienation of Land Act 68 of 1981
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LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
BCEA Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75 of 1997
CCMA Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration
CCR Constitutional Court Review
COIDA Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act 130 of 1993
DoL Department of Labour
EEA Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998
FAWU Food and Allied Workers Union
ILJ Industrial Law Journal
LAC Labour Appeal Court
LRA Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995
PELJ Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal
RAF Act Road Accident Fund Act 56 of 1996
SA Merc LJ South African Mercantile Law Journal
SAJHR South African Journal on Human Rights
SALJ South African Law Journal
SCA Supreme Court of Appeal
Stell LR Stellenbosch Law Review
TSAR Tydskrif vir die Suid-Afrikaanse Reg
UK United Kingdom
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Published
2018-12-13
Section
Articles