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Valparaiso Univ. Law School

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Friday, February 25, 2005

Implied term can't conflict with express term

An implied "good cause" termination clause in a contract is inconsistent with an express clause that provides the employee may be fired on one month’s notice, according to the Irish High Court.

The employer, claiming a sluggish market, made 12 of 130 employees "redundant" and laid them off.  The employee challenged that decision, claiming that it was "expressly or impliedly promised" that he would be fired only for cause.  The contract, however, said nothing about grounds for termination.

The court, by Justice Mary Laffoy, held that the just cause termination provision was inconsistent with the express terms of the employment contract, and that the express terms controlled. The court did, however, find an implied promise not to terminate the contract for one year after the plaintiff had accepted an assignment to Uruguay.

McGrath v. Trintech Technologies Ltd., [2004] IEHC 342.

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