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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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My partner is employed on a self employed basis by a

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My partner is employed on a self employed basis by a cleaning company and is being sued for a breach of contract. She has only ever signed an application form for employment by the cleaning company. Does this constitute a contract?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

What is the alleged breach please?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
As well as working for the cleaning company. my partner also has her own clients. The cleaning company are stating that she is poaching their clients and are suing her for breach of contract between her and the cleaning company
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

Was there any documentation that actually said she cannot poach clients or have her own clients on the side?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The only paperwork Sue signed was an application form which states "I acknowledge that the clients I will be cleaning for are Mai2Clean clients and remain that way if I decide to leave the agency" She is still cleaning for a client of the company has not resigned or been dismissed
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

And the clients she is accused of poaching - how did she get involved with them, did she work with them them before taking up this job?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
They are both clients of the cleaning company and after Sue said she was going to start her own company both clients cancelled their contracts with the cleaning company to go with Sue's new company
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

Has the agency only threatened to sue or have they actually issued a claim in court?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
they have issued a claim through the, I think the Business Court in Northampton
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

Ok thanks. A contract could be formed in many ways, it does not even have to be in writing. So you could have a verbal agreement which becomes a legally binding contract. You do not need a formal document which is referred to as a contract and have it signed or witnessed for it to become a contract. The law simply requires an offer, an acceptance and some consideration. In your example, the offer letter could have become a legally binding document, just as a contract, because it formed part of the offer by the agency, which she accepted by starting the job with them and as such it is likely to have been given contractually binding status.

Saying that, it is very basic and not very well drafted. I can see what it is trying to prevent but in reality such restrictions need to be drafted very well and be clear about what they are restricting, why and for how long. This is a very general clause, not very specific about what circumstances exactly it covers and basically appears to try and prevent any dealings with clients of the agency after she leaves, or on the side. This is not illegal in itself, competition is considered healthy in business and is generally encouraged. I would say that she may only possibly be in trouble if she had persuaded them to leave the agency to work for her, rather than just allowing the clients to make their own choice.

I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. 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, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46170
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you Ben, I will leave a positive rating
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

You are most welcome and thank you

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