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taratill
taratill, Solicitor
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 6390
Experience:  15 years experience of advising on employment law matters
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Yesterday I received a legal letter from my ex-employer stating

Customer Question

Yesterday I received a legal letter from my ex-employer stating that I had breached my contract of employment, despite having been made redundant in April (after serving redundancy period, final leaving date was 17/6/15). For the past 2 months, I have been researching the possibility of starting my own small business which would rival the company I previously worked for. I contacted 2 people who I knew from my past job to help with advise, quotes, design, etc. One of these then informed the current MD at my past job of my intentions despite the fact I said it was private and confidential at this stage. On checking my old contract, it did state that I was not to contact suppliers to my ex-company for 6 months after leaving. Unfortunately I was not aware of this and accept this was my fault. However, through their solicitors, my previous company are saying that they 'consider that there is a serious risk that you have breached your ongoing duty of confidentiality to the company by stealing databases of business contacts'. This again has come from the contact that informed the MD. I have not 'stolen' any databases from the company at any stage of my time there (2007-2015). I have been researching my own contacts through website searches for my proposed business and this is where the contact got her details wrong. I completely reject this comment 100% from the solicitors and company. They also suggest that I am trading and using 'their data' which is a complete fabrication as the business is not even trading yet. I have not even made 1 phone call to anyone yet as research and preparation for my new company will continue to at least January. As they want a reply from me by 12/10/15 by 4pm, I need advice as to how to respond to this situation (they have attached an 'undertakings' form for me to sign, but that incorporates the part about 'stolen' data which I reject completely). Thanks for any advice.
Nigel Smith ***@******.***
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  taratill replied 2 years ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today.
Have they threatened legal proceedings if you do not sign the injunction?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jenny,

They want me to sign a written undertakings form which has 6 points on it. They say that if I fail to provide this, the company will not hesitate to apply to the High Court for an injunction to restrain me from misusing its confidential information i.e. these alleged databases and saying I will be in breach of contract. They also say the company reserves its right to pursue me for damages and an accounts of profits received by me into my new business (which as I said in my original message has not even traded yet and won't this year). It then goes on about court legal costs, injunctions on client contact details, etc.

Nigel Smith

Expert:  taratill replied 2 years ago.
Giving an undertaking is a very serious matter as, in the event that you give an undertaking and then breach it you are in contempt of court and theoretically you can be imprisoned.
Given the serious nature of the allegations I would suggest that you engage face to face help from a solicitor to assist you in responding. It will cost you a fee to do so but this is something that you need to take seriously.
If you do not want to engage a solicitor to do this then you should write a response to say that you have not taken any data bases and to the extent that you have breached any covenants they have not and will not suffer a loss.
You can offer to sign amended undertakings that fit the purpose i.e. remove the parts that you do not agree with regarding taking the information.
If you do engage a solicitor it would be prudent to ask them to review the restrictive covenants as these may not be enforceable in any event.
If you have any further questions please ask. If I have answered your question I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer. Thank you and all the best.
taratill and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jenny,

Thanks for the advice. I have signed on for your additional service, so if you need me to email a copy of the solicitors letter up to you then please let me know.

Nigel

Expert:  taratill replied 2 years ago.
Please can you email the contract of employment and the letter from the solicitor to the contact below. Many thanks
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jenny,

You should have received the solicitors letter via my personal email address. I have just sent you the contract of employment details via my *****@******.*** email address. Hope that's all OK. Any other information you need then please let me know.

Regards,

Nigel Smith

Expert:  taratill replied 2 years ago.
No problem, please give me time to look at the information you have sent. I'll be in contact later this afternoon.