The England manager’s resignation from what he had regarded as his dream job has made front page headlines across the country.
In taking the step he has saved his employers from having to make a difficult decision. Would they have dismissed? The covert recordings of his comments to undercover newspaper investigators did not clearly show that he was in breach of any rules. ‘Bungs’ he exclaimed in one recorded conversation were no longer tolerated. Even his comment that it was not a problem for others to get around the restrictions on the unlawful practice of third party ownership did not prove that he was condoning or encouraging it. However would his comments have still fundamentally undermined the relationship of trust and confidence between himself and the Football Association as his employer?
The employment contract whether it is for the role of England football manager or High Street shop manager is based on more than just the written terms and conditions. Due to the personal nature of an employment relationship both employer and employee are bound by a number of implied terms that are just as important as those expressed in writing.
Chief amongst those implied terms is the duty to maintain mutual trust and confidence.
It is a term that is implied into every employment contract. More often than not it is the employee rather than the employer who will rely upon it in any dispute, frequently citing it as the reason for their forced resignation in a constructive dismissal claim.
However it can be equally relied upon by the employer in situations where the conduct of the employee is at issue. In this case it may have been that Big Sam’s association with supposed business partners looking to breach FA rules could have been regarded as breaching that term of trust and confidence.
Of course no decision was taken as to whether the implied term was breached as the England manager resigned and in any event as it was just 67 days after his appointment it was well before he would have gained any rights relating to unfair dismissal which normally only apply after two years’ service. However the contractual pay arrangements surrounding dismissal or resignation may in these types of situation be worth far more money than any capped compensation payment for unfair dismissal. If an agreement was reached to allow for the resigning employee to be paid regardless of whether they work their notice period it may have been seen as the best resolution to what was a difficult situation.