Freedom of Speech and The Contract of Employment: The Concept of the Public Interest
This chapter considers the contract of employment and the various duties owed by employees that may restrict the right to freedom of speech to be enjoyed by those who work. The main contractual duties which will have an impact on freedom of speech for employees are the duty of mutual trust and confidence; of co-operation and fidelity; and duties in relation to confidential information. These duties may be contained in express terms of the employment contract, or may be implied into the contract by the common law. Whether express or implied, they will be subject to an exception where the speech serves the public interest. This means that the question of whether the public interest is served by speech is of pivotal importance in assessing the contractual duties of the employee.
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