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Duty of loyalty

Duty of loyalty

Sabrina Jonassen

Content Assistant

Together with our partner LegalHero, Qred has taken the initiative to find more ways to help our customers. Read what LegalHero has to say about what to keep in mind when you have employees...

Duty of loyalty to your workplace

The duty of loyalty applies to employees throughout their employment. This means, among other things, that the employee is obliged not to take competing or harmful actions for the company that employs the employee during the entire period of employment. The duty of loyalty does not follow directly from Danish law, but instead applies as a general and unwritten rule. This also means that it can be difficult to determine the scope of the duty of loyalty.

If an employee does not fulfill their duty of loyalty, the employer can sanction - and in more serious cases, dismiss or expel - the employee. 

Social media 

The duty of loyalty also applies when engaging in social media outside of normal working hours. Statements that may harm the company are considered a breach of the duty of loyalty. This also applies even if you have made a statement on your own private Facebook profile, as social media behavior often spreads more than expected.

What does the duty of loyalty entail?

The duty of loyalty is an expression of the company's expectation that the employee does not perform actions or make statements that directly or indirectly harm or may harm the company. Case law has established some cases that are covered by the duty of loyalty. These include:

  • the employee must not divulge trade secrets 
  • The employee must not speak negatively about the company and its employees to customers/business associates or colleagues
  • the employee may not commence or engage in competing activities
  • The employee must not try to get other colleagues to resign

How long does the loyalty obligation apply?

The length of time the employee is subject to the loyalty obligation depends on the remuneration obligation. This is the period during which the employee is obliged to be loyal and the employer pays wages. In short, the obligation ends upon termination, suspension or redundancy. However, in the case of a layoff, the employee may not take on competing work until the notice period has expired. 

How do you retain your employees? 

Changing jobs has become more popular and Danes are changing jobs like never before. For example, if the tasks are not interesting and challenging enough, or if the employee is not happy.

For the company, it can be an expensive affair if the employee is only employed for a few years. Recruitment and onboarding at the start of an employee's employment is time-consuming and costly, so it can be advantageous to retain employees for as long as possible. Below are different elements to consider when you want to create the best framework and conditions for an employee: 

  1. Setting expectations before hiring - once you've found your company's next employee, it's important to get the most important details clear and concise during the hiring process. This will often include elements such as the job description, responsibilities, team structure, salary, pension, etc. This way, you ensure that the future employee is fully aware of what their tasks are and where the company is going. A good hiring process and ongoing alignment of expectations can help retain the employee.

  1. Good communication - to retain employees, communication is key. As an employer, it's important to communicate clearly if there are changes in, for example, contractual expectations so that they feel adequately informed. Also, provide ongoing feedback (praise/praise) to the employee so they know what to focus on. Another common reason for termination is the relationship with the line manager/management. The collaboration must work if the employee is to thrive, solve tasks and develop. In one-on-one interviews, the focus is not only on operations and development - you also have a great opportunity to form professional relationships with your employees and get a sense of whether they are thriving.

  1. Focus on the employee - including employee development. Most employees want to be challenged and develop their own skills in the workplace. As an employer, you should therefore be aware of how to develop the employee, which can ultimately benefit the company. This could be through courses, webinars or other forms of training. It gives an employee a sense of autonomy when their manager can ask about their specific goals and general motivation in everyday life.

  1. Remember the pra ise - few people can stay in a workplace for many years without being praised. Recognition and praise from the employer helps to retain the employee and provide extra motivation, which can be seen in productivity. A happy employee will naturally be less likely to look elsewhere. 

  1. Create a good social environment - good collegiality is also important in the workplace. Work is much more than having something to get up for in the morning. Work is very much about an employee's identity and feeling satisfied with what they do. As a workplace, you can initiate various social events, such as a Friday bar, where those who want to can come. This supports socialization in the workplace and promotes well-being.

  1. Reward employees - while praise and recognition can go a long way, there are also times when it's going to take a toll on your wallet. Usually, a negotiation of salary will take place during salary negotiations. As an employer, you need to remember to reward good employees with raises. An alternative to this can be various bonus schemes if, for example, the company reaches a certain target.

  1. Flexibility - the corona crisis has really opened people's eyes to working from home. Many employees and employers discovered that working from home for 1-2 days a week can work. If the workload allows it, it can make sense to increase this option. Flexibility is very much at the top of many people's wish list for a new job - often families with children.  

What can you do legally?

The duty of loy alty has been particularly relevant in an age where the use of technology and social media can raise issues of loyalty. At LegalHero, we help employers and employees alike with all types of legal challenges related to the duty of loyalty, so you can rest assured that the process is done correctly. The entire case is handled online, so you can easily follow the entire process without any unforeseen expenses. 

In relation to the duty of loyalty, you need to be aware of the content of your employment contract. In the contract, there may be various clauses that restrict different types of actions/exceptions. For example, a customer and non-compete clause

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