While it is often thought of in terms of union negotiations, good faith extends to the way in which employers and employees deal with each other. There is an obligation on both you and your employees to make every act an act of good faith.
There are three elements which collectively make up good faith:
• neither party acting in a misleading or deceptive way
• both you and your employees are to be responsive and continue communicating
• If you want to make a decision which will impact an employee, you must present enough information for the employee to understand and be able to comment, prior to the decision being made
It is best for you and your employees to think of good faith, as more of a broad concept, rather than the three statements above alone. As such, it can help to think of an act of good faith to include things like being fully honest, raising issues in a fair and timely manner, treating the other party with respect, and giving the other party information which may be referred to in any future discussions. Again, this is not a definitive list, but it is the concept of ‘good faith’ that should be followed as much as possible.
Given how important it is for employers and employees, as well as unions, to act in good faith, for reference some examples can include:
• when an employee is under investigation, do not present false evidence
• independent investigations should be completed by someone that is truly independent
• where a union decides to call off a strike, the decision should be communicated to the employer as soon as possible and not as late as possible
• if an employee makes a rash decision to resign in the heat of the moment, this should be clarified to be sure
• where an employee has been seen at a sporting event, or another public outing, when on sick leave there should be a valid explanation offered
• any confusing terms in an employment agreement should be clarified as a matter of urgency
If an employee makes a claim of personal grievance, alleging that you have breached good faith, the Employment Relations Authority is the responsible agency which will investigate. If the employee, or their representative, successfully argues that you have breach good faith, the Employment Relations Authority may issue a penalty.
For advice on good faith, or support following allegations of a breach, call Employsure on 0800 675 700 day or night