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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48176
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Hello. I need legal advice on an issue of employment law. My

Resolved Question:

Hello. I need legal advice on an issue of employment law. My employment was terminated last September but my previous employer is now threatening to sue for fraud as they are under the impression that I undertook some work on their behalf last September and then pocketed the money. However, this is not the case. My employment was formally terminated with effect of 20th September. On 23rd September I started work as a freelance consultant and undertook a small piece of contract work on a private basis. I was very careful to ensure that this work was not started until AFTER any contractual obligation to my previous employer had ceased ie on 20th September. I was initially contacted by the client in early September (when i was still employed) with a view to undertaking the work prior to 20th September. I made it clear at that point that I was leaving my employment and would not undertake the work on behalf of my employer. The client subsequently chose to contract me independently and the work was not started until AFTER 20th September. No property or resources belonging to my previous employer where involved.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What would you like to know about this specifically?

Customer:

I need to be clear in my assumption that they have no legal basis for claiming this fee back from me and suing me for fraud (as threatened) if I dont pay them (ex employer) the money ?

Ben Jones :

This is a factual matter that would depend on the actual circumstances. This is not really fraud but the employer would need to show that you had made yourself out to be still working for them when you undertook the job in question and made the client feel that they were instructing your employer, rather than you personally. So the client’s evidence would also be important and if they can show that at no point did they believe that they were working with you but were always under the impression that this was a job they agreed to do with you personally, then there would be little the employer can do. So do not just agree to pay them now, they would still need to take you to court and prove all of the above before you can be forced to pay them anything.

Customer:

Thank you. I was very clear with the client contact about this and they are willing to confirm that they contract me on a private basis AFTER I left my then employment

Ben Jones :

the only issue would be if you had a post-termination restrictive covenant in place restricting what you could do even after you had left their employment, was there anything like that?

Customer:

No. The settlement agreement had no restrictions. I was paid 8 weeks notice after 20th september but my contract ceased on that date and no subsequent work restrictions were imposed.

Ben Jones :

ok sop then in that case the earlier response applies

Customer:

OK thanks

Ben Jones :

you are most welcome

Customer:

Do you advise me to write to my ex employer, send a lawyers letter to them or simply ignore their threats ?

Ben Jones :

Don’t just ignore them as that may antagonise them but write back to them with brief details of what happened to show that they have no claim. No need for a lawyer’s letter just yet so you can keep the costs down

Customer:

Thanks for yr help

Ben Jones :

No problem

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