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L’évolution du pouvoir de licenciement sans préavis de l’employeur : de l’Angleterre médiévale aux colonies Australiennes = Evolution of the power of dismissal without notice from the employer: from medieval England to the Australian colonies The Evolution of the Employer’s Power of Summary Dismissal: From Medieval England to the Australian Colonies
journal contributionposted on 02.06.2020, 00:00 by Victoria Lambropoulos
Summary dismissal otherwise known as dismissal for cause is an inherent employer power in the contract of employment today. But this has not always been the case. From medieval times, English labour regulation known as the master servant law heavily interfered with this power by initially prohibiting its use. This article traces the attempted regulation of this power through to the middle of the 20th century. It is a portrayal of how successive legislation in Britain and in Australia resorted to the criminal law to respond to servants’ (employees’) alleged misconduct and disobedience. Furthermore, the hierarchical nature of British society that viewed these employees as lower-class gave licence to such barbaric laws. The Australian colonies added their own equally harsh measures to the laws. However, by the 20th century the contractualisation of the law released the hold which the master servant law and the criminal law had over the area. This enabled the private power as we know it today to develop. However, there are still some remnants of the master servant era which remain.