| Commentary

(4) Obedience

| Commentary

(4)     Obedience

It used to be said that an employee must obey the lawful orders of his employer. That tends to be rephrased today as: the employee should carry out the reasonable instructions of the employer. But the principle remains the same. The employee is not obliged to carry out orders which are unlawful (cf Morrish v Henlys (Folkestone) Ltd [1973] IRLR 61, [1973] ICR 482, NIRC), or which are beyond the scope of his contract, or which can be said to be clearly unreasonable (as where a bank wanted to send one of its employees to Turkey, where he was under sentence of death: Ottoman Bank v Chakarian [1930] AC 277). It is not of course every act of disobedience which will justify summary dismissal at common law. There has to be something which amounts to a deliberate flouting of the terms of the contract: Laws v London Chronicle (Indicator Newspapers) Ltd

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