Is there an implied term in an employment contract that requires an employee to inform their employer of allegations of misconduct?

In the case of Basildon Academies –v- Amadi and Another, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has considered whether there is an implied term in a contract of employment that requires employees to disclose allegations of misconduct made against them.

Mr Amadi was a cover supervisor at an academy and also, unbeknown to the academy, worked at a college. In December 2012 Mr Amadi was suspended by the college following allegations by a student of sexual assault. He did not inform the academy of the allegations against him. However, in March 2013 the academy was informed by the police of the nature of the allegations, and it also suspended him.

The academy held a disciplinary hearing and dismissed Mr Amadi for not reporting to it the allegations of misconduct and for not disclosing his work at the college. Mr Amadi brought an employment tribunal claim for unfair dismissal.

The Employment Tribunal found that Mr Amadi had been unfairly dismissed. It considered the terms of his contract of employment and found that his failure to inform the academy of his employment at the college was a breach of an express term of his contract. However, with regard to the allegations of misconduct, it found there was no term in his contract which required him to disclose these allegations to the academy.

The academy appealed this decision. It contended that Mr Amadi’s contract did contain an express term requiring him to disclose the allegations, or, that there must be an implied duty on him in any event to do so.

The appeal was dismissed. The EAT analysed the terms of Mr Amadi’s contract. It found that there was no express term in his contract which required him to disclose the allegations. It also found that there was no implied term that obliged an employee to disclose to their employer an allegation of impropriety against them.

Comment

This case provides useful guidance as to when an employee will be obliged to disclose to its employer allegations of misconduct made against them. In the absence of an express contractual term requiring the employee to do so, there is no implied term requiring an employee to disclose such allegations.

If an employer wants to ensure that its employees disclose allegations of misconduct, particularly where they have an impact on their employment, this obligation must be set out clearly in the employee’s contract of employment or contractual policies.