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Is there a duty of loyalty between the employer and employee during the term of employment?

Article 25/II-e of the Turkish Labor Code stipulates that acts which are in contravention of the duty of loyalty such as abuse of the employer’s trust, theft, or the disclosure of an employer’s confidential and professional secrets are deemed as grounds for termination of an employment agreement. And, as per article 396 of Turkish Code of Obligations, “The worker is obliged to do the work undertaken diligently and act loyally in protecting legitimate interests of The employer. The worker is obliged to properly use any machines, tools and equipment, technical systems, facilities belong to The employer and alongside this to take care of materials handed over to him/her in order to do the work. The worker, as long as the service relation, may not serve to any third person for any wage on the contrary of the loyalty obligation and may not engage in competition especially with its employer.” The employee is obliged to refrain from competitive acts against the employer. The employee is prohibited from conducting acts and making transactions which may harm the employer. Parties of the employment agreement may also include a clause of non-compete during a period of time after the termination of the employment contract. But according to the Turkish Code of Obligations Article 445, such period shall not exceed 2 years.


In terms of confidentiality, the last paragraph of the same article of Code of Obligations stipulates that, “The worker may not use any information learned during doing service, especially including secrets of production and business, on his behalf nor disclose to any third parties. He is obliged to keep secret after termination of service relation to the extent necessary to protect legitimate interests of The employer.” Duty of non-competition during the term of employment agreement is also a type of ‘’duty of loyalty’’. In addition, under Article 25 of the Turkish Labor Code, the law entitles the employer to terminate the employment contract on just cause with immediate effect, if the employee would act untruthfully or disloyally such as disclosing the employer’s professional secrets


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