How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ben Jones Your Own Question
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47870
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
29905560
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
Ben Jones is online now

I have an issue with a previous employer who wants to prevent

Customer Question

I have an issue with a previous employer who wants to prevent my efforts to secure a new role as they claim that there is a term in my contract that prevents accepting a job with a client. The term in the contract 20.1 however there are exclusions to the terms which I think apply to my case 20.2 (c).
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. firstly can you tell me how long ago you left that employment please.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I worked for them for approx. 3 weeks (29May to 19Jun)

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for that information please leave this with me and I will get my advice ready for you on how to proceed with this. I will get back to you ASAP There is no need to wait on here I will email you when ready regards Ben.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hi sorry I thought the document was attached but cannot see it can you please provide that?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Ben apologies it didn't attach for some reason.

Tried again let me know if does not attach. To add to the initial note, the role that I applied for came along Greyspark approached me before to work with them but due to the recruitment processing with Credit Suisse (client) taking longer I accepted the Greyspark offer as did not know if Credit Suisse would offer me a role. As soon as the latter offered me a role I resigned. Additionally the two roles sit in completely different areas which I think clause 20.2 (c) allows for as a restriction to 20.1.

Let me know your thoughts.

Attachment: 2015-07-15_182924_lds_003-_6289970-v1-letter_to_m_kamunya_15_july_2015_enclosing_signed_contract.pdf

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, thanks I have received the document now. Post-termination restrictive covenants are a rather common occurrence in employment relationships. An employer would want to protect their business from a departing employee's knowledge, business connections, influence over remaining staff, etc. However, a covenant that restricts an employee's post-termination activities will be automatically unenforceable for being in restraint of trade, unless the employer can show that it was there to protect a legitimate business interest and did so in a reasonable way.
Legitimate business interests (LBIs) are commonly accepted to include:
• Goodwill (including supplier and customer connections)
• Trade secrets and confidential information
• Stability of the workforce
An employer cannot apply a restrictive covenant just to stop someone competing with their business, but it can seek to stop that person using or damaging their LBIs by using a reasonably drafted covenant.
You are subjected to a Non-competition covenant. These prevent an employee from working with a competing business or setting up to work in competition with their ex-employer. Such general restrictions are seen as a restraint of trade and will be difficult to enforce. They will only be seen as reasonable if in the process of working in competition, the employee uses trade secrets or sensitive confidential information belonging to their ex-employer, or their influence over clients is so great that such a restriction is necessary. The length of the restriction and its geographical coverage will also be relevant. Also as you have mentioned you have a potential exemption – if you have not dealt with these clients before your resignation then you are unlikely to be covered by a general restriction not to work for a competitor as it would be deemed unreasonable.
Whilst restrictive covenants are mainly used as a scare tactic by employers, if an employee has acted in breach of a covenant and the employer is intent on pursuing the matter further they can do so. The following are potential outcomes if the employer takes legal action:
• Obtain an interim injunction preventing the employee from doing certain things that would make them in breach of the restrictive covenant
• Seek compensation for damages that have directly resulted from the breach of the covenants
As you can see there are no hard and fast rules on restrictive covenants. Whether a specific restriction is enforceable will always depend on the individual circumstances, the interest being protected and whether it has been reasonably drafted. The above principles are what the courts will consider when deciding whether a restriction is going to be legally enforceable. It should give you a good idea of what to look for in your situation and decide what the chances of this being pursued further are, but in this case they may indeed be difficult to enforce.
I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Ben

It now seems that Greyspark (my previous employers) are intending to seek an injunction unless I agree to sign a deed of undertaking. Although I was intending to leave this alone I am considering taking action against them now. Are you able to be my legal representative or do I need to seek alternative legal representatives on the matter given you are already familiar with most of the facts?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, unfortunately we cannot take on work through this site so you would have to find another lawyer that can assist. You may search for local lawyers to you here: http://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/