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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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I am writing in regards to the case with my former employer.

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Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing in regards ***** ***** case with my former employer. I worked for the company for 13 months and my employment was terminated because of a gross misconduct.
I would like to explain the background of the situation.
A few months before my employment was terminated, I notified my employer verbally that I am planning to resign because I will be moving to a different country and I am looking for job opportunities there.
I admit that I did break the company confidentiality agreement, because I contacted by email around 1000 of the company's customers sending them my resume and asking for employment opportunities. This situation came into light and it was considered a gross misconduct and it was the reason for terminating my employment.
I don't deny (and I never denied in my conversations with my employer) that I did what I did. However, I have serious doubts, if:
1) my dismissal was fair
2) the dismissal process was correct.
1) I don't believe the sanction was proportional to my guilt. I worked har for the company for 13 months and I have never received any warnings, on the contrary - only hood feedback, I have been even invited to a meeting with for best employees after my first quarter working as a fully ramped employee. My wrong behaviour had no intentions to harm the company and it wasn't of a competitive nature. I don't believe the company had any losses as a result of my behaviour. I was willing to cooperate in order to dxplain the situation and I was keen on agreeing on a negotiated exit. From the very beginning I repented.
2) dismissal process
When the situation came into light, I was immediately suspended (my manager informed me sbout this verbally, with no written information) and told to be available in the office for further investigations. I admitted to what I did and passed all the email addresses and emails content to my manager and I agreed to cooperate and be available for investigations. I was expecting further discussions, but instead after 2 days of waiting and having no updates on the status of the process I was invited to a meeting with my manager and a person from HR and I was given a termination letter. The invitation to the meeting was with a 5 minutes notice. I had no information what is happening since my suspension until the final meeting with my manager and the HR, noone ever spoke to me and asked to explain the situation. There was no disciplinary meeting held and I had no chance to state my case. I had no right to appeal. I was willing to cooperate and discuss a negotiated exit, but noone offered such an option to me.
I was handed in a termination letter which included extra clauses that were not a part of my contract. I have signed the letter and the next day I was informed my email that there was a mistake in the letter. I was asked to come to the office next day and sign the letter with the date one day backwards, which I did. The same day I sent an email to the HR explaining my doubts about the dismissal process, but I never received any answer.
The extra clauses were asking me to resend from offering competitive goods or services to the customers ghat I have contacted for 12 months, and at the same time to delete the list of customers which I did. The custkmers I shouldn't contact were supposed to be listed jn an apendix, but I have only received the termination letter, without any additional documents. My doubts are about the clauses regarding not offerring competitive goods and services to the companies that I have sent emails to. Accouring to the letter, I should delete the email list, which I have done. At the same time, I am not allowed to offer competitive goods and services to customers form that list, which I don't have because I have deleted it. The letter mentions an appendix listing the customers, but I was never given one.
My questions are:
- did the employer have the right to add extra anti-competition restrictions in the termination letter, which were not a part of my contract?
- are there clauses binding, if I don't have the list of customers anymore and the termination letter had no appendix?
- what are the sanctions for breaching the agreement?
- do I have any options to re-negotiate the agreement after I have signed the termination letter? I felt under pressure signing it and I don't believe I fully understood it.
I'm looking forward to hearing from you.
Kind Regards,
Edyta K.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

How long ago was the contract terminated?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
On the 18th of July 2017
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
The termination letter has inconsistencies
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Please see attached the document, this is all I have received, no extra appendix

OK, thank you for your response and for the attached documents. Leave it with me for now and I will review the relevant information and laws and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Thanks for your patience. To answer your questions:

- did the employer have the right to add extra anti-competition restrictions in the termination letter, which were not a part of my contract?

There is nothing stopping them from doing that but you dis not have to accept these changes. At that stage any changes would have had to be introduced with your consent, which you could have withheld. So my only concern is whether by signing the letter and basically agreeing to the clauses you have agreed for the changes to be made.

- are there clauses binding, if I don't have the list of customers anymore and the termination letter had no appendix?

These factors will not make them automatically unenforceable. These are more minor issues which a court can work around and still make the clauses enforceable if necessary. So do not rely alone on these issues to try and argue this

- what are the sanctions for breaching the agreement?

It could be a claim for damages if they can show that they have suffered any losses as a result of your breach, or it could be a court injunction, preventing you from doing aomething, like making further contact.

- do I have any options to re-negotiate the agreement after I have signed the termination letter? I felt under pressure signing it and I don't believe I fully understood it.

Nothing stopping you from trying to do this but legally it will only likely happen with their consent. You were not und r duress to sign it, there would have still been an opportunity to say no but you signed it, so no harm in trying at least but it would be down to them now.

I trust this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above - this is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you still need me to clarify anything else, please reply on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Hi Ben,Thanks for your answers. I have a few following questions, please see below:- So my only concern is whether by signing the letter and basically agreeing to the clauses you have agreed for the changes to be made. - ok, so essentially this means that I have accepted these clauses and I have to comply with the termination letter, not the contract, correct?- It could be a claim for damages if they can show that they have suffered any losses as a result of your breach, - so in theory if I work with customers from the list, and if there's no direct competitive situation (for example they have terminated their contract with my former employer, before I got involved working for a competitor), it should be safe, unless they can prove there's a direct connection between my work for the competitor and losses on their side. Is that right?Finally, the termination letter defines who is a customer and they use a word 'person'. Does that mean that my restrictions only apply to specific individuals, not whole companies?Thanks in advance for clarifaying.- do I have any options to re-negotiate the agreement after I have signed the termination letter? I felt under pressure signing it and I don't believe I fully understood it.Nothing stopping you from trying to do this but legally it will only likely happen with their consent. You were not und r duress to sign it, there would have still been an opportunity to say no but you signed it, so no harm in trying at least but it would be down to them now.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I'm sorry, please ignore the last 2 paragraphs of my previous message

Hi there, it does not mean that the contract is no longer valid - the termination letter could act as a variation to the terms on the contract. So basically whilst it would replace the specific terms it changed, the remainder of the contract will still be valid.

As to the competitors query, yes you are more or less correct. So let’s say you started working in competition and due to your links with the customers you took away business from the employer, then that is a potential loss. If they had already terminated the contract due to reasons unrelated to you then they cannot argue that you are the reason for their potential loss so it is unlikely they can pursue you for it. Hope this clarifies?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Hi Ben, yes, that's clear. One last question: the termination letter defines who is a customer and they use a word 'person'. Does that mean that my restrictions only apply to specific individuals, not whole companies?

just because they used that word does not limit it to living individuals, especially if a company is specifically defined in the list of customers affected

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thank you for your help. I'll leave a good rating. Regards

you are welcome and all the best