29 September 2011 #Employment
Man City Footballer, Carlos Tevez, seemingly refused to play as a substitute in a match on 27 September 2011. His boss, Roberto Mancini, reacted by saying: "If we want to improve as a team, Carlos can`t play with us. With me, he is finished." Would Mancini have grounds to dismiss Tevez?
Playing football for Man City will be the main obligation Tevez should fulfil under his contract of employment and refusing to play is likely to be so serious that it is an act of gross misconduct. If an employee commits an act of gross misconduct, their employer is entitled to dismiss the employee with immediate effect.
Otherwise, Mancini could take disciplinary action against Tevez by following a disciplinary procedure.
On the other hand, Tevez may have grounds to walk away and claim constructive dismissal after Mancini publicly stated “Carlos can’t play with us.” An employer cannot deprive their employee of the right to fulfil their obligations under the contract of employment. This comment may have also damaged the employee’s trust and confidence in the employer. If so, the employer will have committed a repudiatory breach of contract entitling the employee to resign and claim constructive dismissal.
Employers should handle conduct issues with employees carefully to avoid potential unfair dismissal claims and opinions on an employee should be kept private to avoid employees walking out and claiming constructive dismissal.