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Good faith

Employees, employers and unions are obliged to deal with each other at all times in good faith. Every action taken by an employer and an employee must be done in good faith.

Good faith includes the following three elements:

  • Parties must not act in a misleading or deceptive way.
  • Parties must be responsive and communicative.
  • Before making a decision, which may result in employees losing their job, the employer must give the affected employees sufficient information to be able to understand the proposal and then give them a proper opportunity to comment.

Good faith is also wider than this. It is more than just following the letter of the law. It involves treating others fairly using common sense. Broadly, good faith requires employers, employees and unions to:

  • act honestly, openly, and without hidden motives.
  • raise issues in a fair and timely way.
  • work constructively and positively together.
  • give each other relevant information ahead of when it is needed and as soon as possible, all information given should be carefully considered.
  • be fully honest with each other.
  • raise concerns or issues as soon as possible and respond to these quickly.
  • keep an open mind, listen to each other and be prepared to change opinion about a particular situation or behaviour.
  • treat each other with respect.

There are specific rules surrounding good faith during collective bargaining.

Consequences of breaching good faith

Where an employer does not follow the rules of good faith an employee may take a personal grievance. Where the Employment Relations Authority or the Employment Court find that good faith rules were not followed by the employer then they may award a penalty for a breach of good faith.

Good faith in collective bargaining has more information on freedom of expression in collection bargaining.

Not misleading or deceptive

Good faith requires that employers, unions, and employees must act in a way that is truthful and will not mislead each other.

Be responsive and communicative

Good faith requires employees, unions and employers to communicate clearly, accurately and in a timely manner. This includes responding to concerns raised in a genuine and honest way.

Decisions which might cause job loss

Some employer decisions might cause job/s to go. Good faith requires employers to provide information to employees and give them a real opportunity to comment before job loss decisions are made.

Good communication

Good communication is the basis for positive relationships between employees and their supervisor or manager.

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