04 August, 2010
The recent form of England batter Kevin Pietersen has been a source of concern for cricket fans, with some blaming his poor performance on the fact his County Club, Hampshire refused to allow him to play in a one day match, depriving "KP" of match practice. Local Employment Law expert Jonathan Holden warns this raises some important employment issues.
Jonathan from Forbes Solicitors comments, "It is interesting that Hampshire have refused to allow Mr Pietersen to play for them and not only because he is undoubtedly one of the best players in the world. Any employer, and in these situations Hampshire would certainly be classed as an employer of Mr Pietersen does have an implied duty to provide the employee with work. This can often cause problems in situations where, for example, employers wish to place staff on a garden leave period, often following them handing notice in to leave the business. Unless there is a provision within the contract of employment providing for this, then this will technically be a breach of contract, which could lead to a claim.
Furthermore, an employer must also comply with the implied duty of mutual trust and confidence. One could argue that by refusing to pick Mr Pietersen for the match they have failed in this duty, since this is presumably for political reasons. That said, of course Hampshire would have had a duty to the other players in the team and it may well have caused considerable friction were a popular member of team to be dropped for this match. Clearly, the position in respect of specific contracts in a sporting context is different to a general employment context; but the general principles are nevertheless the same. It is important that employers are aware of their obligations and they do look carefully at any contract of employment. Failure to do so could lead to costly Tribunal claims."
For assistance in dealing with any employee related issues, please contact the Forbes Employment Team, the largest team of specialist employment lawyers in Lancashire on 01254 222399.