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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46196
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have signed an employment contract with a minimum notice

Resolved Question:

I have signed an employment contract with a minimum notice period of 6 months. I am two weeks into the job and have been offered a considerably better job with another company. The new job requires me to start at the beginning of April. Where do I stand with regard to my notice period? What is a worst case scenario if I was to walk out?
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 :

Were you headhunted or did you get the job through a recruitment agency?

Customer:

hi i'm James. through a previous business relationship (someone i knew from another job)

Customer:

it's a senior management position. i'm also a director of the company i'd like to leave

Ben Jones :

ok let me just get my response ready please

Ben Jones :

If there is a written contract in place and it contains a specific clause detailing the notice period an employee is supposed to give if they wanted to leave their employment, they will be contractually bound by it. Therefore, if the employee fails to honour this notice period then they will be acting in breach of contract. The employer then has the option of suing the employee to seek compensation for damages resulting from their breach. However, in reality such claims are very rarely made. This is mainly due to the costs and time involved, also the relatively small damages that can be recovered. So whilst there is no way of predicting whether the employer will take this any further or not, chances are that they will not. A more likely outcome is that the employer refuses to provide a reference in the future or if they do, it could mention that the employee had breached their contract.


 


If no contractual notice period clause exists, an employee who has been continuously employed for at least one month is required to give a minimum notice period of one week in order to terminate their employment.


 


It is therefore best to try and negotiate a mutually acceptable notice period that would suit both parties. However, if that is not possible and there is a pressing need to leave early, that is still a possibility, subject to the risks identified above.

Customer:

good answer, thanks! how small is relatively small damages?

Ben Jones :

It depends on what the losses are, for example if they had to spend just a few hundred on recruitment they may not think it is worth it, but if those costs racked up then they may think it is worth pursuing

Customer:

if the company went under because they couldn't replace me could the investors pursue me for losses?

Ben Jones :

why would it go under?

Customer:

the company is working on a specific piece of technology and might have trouble replacing me within the timescales they have outlined to their client base

Ben Jones :

as an employee it is only the company that may sue you because that is who you had a contractual relationship with, so the investors cannot personally pursue you but may do so through the company if necessary. As mentioned no one can predict if they will pursue it, or if they will not bother, but obviously the risk does exist

Customer:

ok thanks for you time

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46196
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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