Good Faith in Employment
This Article argues that the duty of good faith in contractual performance offers powerful but neglected resources to empower workers to pursue their legitimate interests and resist mistreatment by employers. The duty of good faith creates a joint authority structure within contractual relationships, vesting co-contractors with equal and joint authority over the meaning, purposes, and, hence, the requirements of their contract. Implementing such an authority structure requires ensuring that the parties to a contract have the communicative space and epistemic resources they need to uncover and develop a common understanding of their contract. In the context of employment, such an authority structure would be transformative. It would require legal recognition of a variety of employee speech rights and protection from termination for reasonable and good faith refusals to perform work, and would offer a legal basis to challenge the scope and enforceability of at-will employment clauses. The duty of good faith could thus supply a common law foundation for rights and obligations commonly associated with labor law.