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EMPLOYEE RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS

To obey reasonable orders. An employee is required to obey lawful and reasonable orders from his employer.  Failure to do so is a ground for dismissal.   In Konig v Kanjee Naranjee Properties Limited [1968] EA 233, Law JA noted that, ‘a master is entitled to dismiss his servant summarily for willful disobedience of his master’s lawful and reasonable orders, which is his duty to obey.’

In Karimi v KCB & Another, (2005) eKLR, the plaintiff declined to take up a transfer ordered by his employer and was dismissed.  Kasango J held that this was a clear disobedience of his master’s lawful and reasonable orders and action taken by the employer to terminate the contract was appropriate. See also Njeru v Agip (K) Ltd [1986] KLR 480 where a failure to obey lawful instructions on how to work was held appropriate ground for dismissal
Where obedience of that lawful and reasonable order places the employee at grave risk to his person, dismissal for such a failure to obey would be inappropriate, see Ottoman Bank v Chakarian [1930] AC 277

RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS IN CONTRACTS OF EMPLOYMENT
Employees enjoy implied and statutory rights and owe implied and statutory obligations to their employers
Employers likewise have implied and statutory rights and owe obligations to employees
Employees rights are the employer’s obligations and vice versa

Duty of Obedience
In Pepper v Webb [1969] 1 WLR 514, a gardener used some expletives with words indicating lack of intention to obey the employer’s instructions.  The refusal was held to be a breach of contract.
Obedience is required only for a lawful order; if it is not lawful, he need not obey it.  
Orders that are reasonable have to be obeyed.  Unreasonable orders need not be obeyed.  To determine the reasonability of an order, principles of good human relations may be taken into account.  

Duty of Care and Competence
To exercise reasonable care and competence in performance of his duties. Failure to exercise care and competence may lead to dismissal for incompetence.
“ When a skilled laborer, artisan or artist is employed, there is, on his part, an implied warranty that he is of skill reasonably competent to the task he undertakes, - spondes peritiam artis.  Thus if an apothecary, a watch-maker, or an attorney be employed for reward, theye ach impliedly undertake to possess and exercise reasonable skill in theier several arts,” See Harmer v Cornelius (1858) 5 CBNS 236 at 246
It is an implied term of the contract of employment that an employee will exercise skill and care in the performance of his duties, and a breach of that term entitles the employer to claim damages in respect of the negligent performance of the work.
In Lister v Romford Ice [1957] AC 555 an employee of a company  negligently injured a fellow employee in the course of their work.  The injured employee sued the company and was awarded damages.  The company’s insurers sued the employee under the right of subrogation in the company name.  The court held that there was a breach of this duty and the company was entitled to indemnification from the employee for breach of this contractual duty

Duty of Trust and Confidence
An employment relationship is based on trust and confidence.  An employee is required not to act in a way to destroy the trust and confidence inherent in the relationship
Thus, an employee must not disclose confidential information about the employer’s business to an unauthorised person.

 
 
 

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