Rules concerning the duty of loyalty
What does a duty of loyalty mean? How long are you covered? And how do you maintain your loyalty on social media? Get a handle on how to comply with your duty of loyalty here.
As an employee, you have a duty of loyalty to your employer throughout your employment relationship. This means that you are obliged to behave loyally, both internally and externally, and that you must not perform actions that directly or indirectly harm or may harm your employer for as long as you are employed. Remember that the duty of loyalty also applies if you are released from your duties or suspended.
Breaking your duty of loyalty may involve:
- Negative mention of your colleagues, management, and company
- Competitive business, including start-ups
- Attempts to get other employees to resign
If you break your duty of loyalty, you may risk getting a warning, being dismissed, or, in worst cases, summary dismissal as well as a claim for damages.
Questions about duty of loyalty
Your duty of loyalty generally ends once you have resigned. However, these exceptions apply:
- You must not systematically contact previous customers
- You have a non-compete and/or customer clause
As a general rule, your free time is your own, and therefore you can perform activities in your free time, paid and unpaid, but only as long as it can be done without disadvantaging your regular work. What can be done without disadvantage depends on a specific assessment of the contents of your employment agreement, the content of your work and the performance of your work.
However, you must never engage in competing business.
We recommend that you always inform your employer about both side positions and side jobs to make sure you do not get into trouble. It is especially important that you are aware of side jobs:
- Side positions: positions that have the nature of leisure interests or positions of trust, such as chair of the handball club, treasurer of the gymnastics association or political association work.
- Side jobs: work of a professional nature.
You are subject to a duty of loyalty when you have been terminated – even if you are released from your duties or suspended.
Amongst other things, this means that you must not start a new job with a competing company during your notice period. You may go to an interview and sign an employment agreement with a competitor, but you may not start until you have resigned your position.
This also means that you may not start with a competing company, e.g. by marketing your company, starting to sell products or services, publishing a website or influencing your employer’s employees. However, you may do the initial exercises that do not compromise your employer.
Do you have contractual clauses?
If you are covered by a non-compete clause and/or a customer clause, you must be careful to comply with the restrictions agreed in the clause.
You must be careful about what you share on social media. This is particularly important if you are connected to your employer’s customers or other business relationships. And it also applies if you are terminated – even if you are released from your duties or suspended.
If you are in doubt as to what you can write and share on social media, we recommend that you contact your manager or HR so that you do not violate your duty of loyalty.
If you break your duty of loyalty, you may risk getting a warning, being dismissed or, in worst cases, summary dismissal as well as a claim for damages.
Finansforbundet, therefore, recommends that you contact your union representative or employer if you have the slightest doubt as to whether an action could be a breach of your duty of loyalty.
You can always seek advice from Finansforbundet at 32 66 13 30.