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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47628
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Good evening, I accepted a new position around 3 weeks

Resolved Question:

Good evening,

I accepted a new position around 3 weeks ago. I then signed a contract with the company. I am now in the third week of my notice period with my current employer and i am due to start in my new position on 17th February.

However, during my notice period (after i had signed the contract) i have been offered a position at another company which i am going to take.

If i just email the company i have accepted the position with (and signed a contract) and tell them i will not be taking up my position can they sue me for breach of contract even if i haven't started the role yet?

I hope that makes sense.

Thanks.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

Did you have a notice period with that company which you were supposed to start with?

Customer:

Er....well i have a contract which states in the Notice Period section that in my 26 week probationary period (which would start on 17th Feb) i have to give one weeks notice of my intention to leave the position.

Customer:

Having said that i have just notice that my contract actually states that my start date is the 15th January. But, i will not actually be starting until the 17th February. So, does that mean that technically i am already in my probationary period although i have not started yet?

Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready please

Ben Jones :

If you have accepted the job and indicated your willingness to start working there you would have a legally binding contract in place and would be expected to honour it. At the same time the employer would be expected to honour their part too, that being taking you on to work for them.


 


If you fail to start working for them then you will technically be acting in breach of contract. This could potentially allow the employer to pursue you for this and seek compensation for any losses incurred as a result. They cannot force you to work for them and compensation is all they can realistically pursue you for. This would depend on what losses they have actually incurred and most commonly these would be either direct losses incurred as a result of you not working for them or costs associated with your recruitment or for recruitment a replacement on short notice.


 


This is the legal position but I reality few employers make such claims unless the employee was a high ranking executive or had a large influence on clients/business where the losses are obvious and reasonably high. They will probably be upset about this and may threaten you to take further action but hopefully they won’t. Also the sooner you tell them the more time they have to minimise any losses and it will work in your favour in the end.

Ben Jones :

Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this?

Ben Jones :

Hi are you still there?

Ben Jones :

Not sure if you are having issues with chat - I see your status as being in and out a few times, it may indicate problems viewing my posts?

Ben Jones :

Hello again

Customer:

Yes that's a big help thanks.

Ben Jones :

ah, thanks, XXXXX XXXXX there were some technical issues earlier

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