Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.
What is the alleged breach please?
Was there any documentation that actually said she cannot poach clients or have her own clients on the side?
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?
Has the agency only threatened to sue or have they actually issued a claim in court?
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.
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You are most welcome and thank you