Working Backwards: The Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing in Employment Law
25 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2010
Date Written: 1990
This article examines the covenant of good faith and fair dealing with respect to employment law. This doctrine is at an interesting stage in its development (or decline) in Minnesota and elsewhere. The article begins with the standard exposition of the current state of the law; part I describes the limited scope of the covenant and its limited force in Minnesota employment law. Part II contains my assessment of the courts' handling of the covenant and the promise this theory holds for Minnesota employees and employers. My theses are: First, the courts have thus far failed to develop a sound theory of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing because they have approached the problem backwards. Second, the real promise of the covenant -- if defined to focus on faithfulness to the parties' bargain -- is its potential to prompt employers to act in good faith not only at the time of discharge, but also during the employment relationship.
Keywords: Employment discharge, termination of employment, employee’s duty, terms of employment, Minnesota employees, bad faith, job security
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