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Pace University

Labor and Employment Law

2008

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Fulfilling Lucy's Legacy: Recognizing Implicit Good-Faith Obligations Within Explicit Job Duties, Emily Gold Waldman Jan 2008

Fulfilling Lucy's Legacy: Recognizing Implicit Good-Faith Obligations Within Explicit Job Duties, Emily Gold Waldman

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

Wood v. Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon is often cited for the principle that every contract contains an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Yet the very source of that decision--the New York Court of Appeals--has been emphatically unwilling to recognize an implied good-faith covenant in the context of employment relationships, given the judicial presumption of employment at will. This essay criticizes the New York Court of Appeals' conclusion that the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing must yield to the presumption of employment at will, and advocates a more balanced approach.