The advent of word processing and computer storage of documents has created, in employment as in other fields of law, a body of standard contract precedents. The phenomenon of the highly detailed written document, spewed from a precedent data base without a great deal of individual consideration, raises a particular concern in the employment context, where relationships and obligations are often fluid. The evolving expectations of the parties to an employment relationship, particularly at the point of severance, often depart considerably from the provisions of the standard form contract, which (in all likelihood) has been created by the employer’s legal advisers to steel-reinforce the employer’s best interests in case of severance. It is commonly assumed that the written document reigns. Is this necessarily so? This paper will investigate the work that the doctrine of estoppel – particularly an old doctrine of estoppel by convention – might do to promote equitable solutions where an injustice is threatened by a mismatch between contract documentation and the mutual expectations of the parties to an employment relationship.
Contracts | Labor and Employment Law
Date of this Version
Joellen Riley, "Estoppel in the Employment Context: A Solution to Standard Form Unfairness?" (July 2007). University of New South Wales Faculty of Law Research Series. Working Paper 49.