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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3613
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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My son has received a letter from a former employer (hair salon)

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my son has received a letter from a former employer (hair salon) via a solicitor for breech of contract . The breeches mentioned are false except one which may be an issue. After he gave his notice in January 2015 he was told he had to work 8 weeks notice problem which is not an issue and left in March 2015 even though they sent him a p45 dated February..no other P45s have been issued as yet. In the meantime he looked for self employed freelance work but failed to find much, finally a salon offered him a chair rental but it is 0.4-0.5 miles from his former salon and his signed at 18 years old contract states (now 25) for 6 months he can not "work for payment or gift " within a 1/2 mile radius of the salon. This may be close but the solicitor has asked him to stop working (basically making him unemployed and hardship) and saying they could seek loss of payments as once ladies whose hair he cut knew he was around the corner they came to him rather than the former salon. They are also threatening him with an injuction to cease trading, and saying he would bear the cost of that procedure . He has no sayings or assets and lives at home with nothing but clothes and phone etc. We requested a map of the radius which the solicitor issued yesterday but it is not to any scale so i can vouch for the distance also he has requested a reply by 4pm this tuesday which i find a bit bullying as how in that time if it was to scale could i seek advice and respond . His letter was addressed wrong and not even recorded , so how would he know i even received it in time to reply. Can i seek your advice on the situation for him please
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you for your question and welcome.
My name is ***** ***** I will assist you.
Did your son take any advice when he signed the contract?
Has he resigned the contract in each year of his employment?
Have they issued proceedings?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your reply.....no my son signed the contract when starting out at the salon when 18 years old...He did not take any advice it was a typical case of sign this please and hand it back. Also it is the only contract he had issued to him hence many items on it are "past" . They have sent him a letter stating that they may seek an injunction if he does not cease to work and that they may seek payment for loss of earnings as since its been known where he people whose hair he has cut have come to him by their choice, he certainly never poached them its simple public expressing their wishes to have their hair cut by someone they trust...They are making allegations they are there clients , but of course people can move where ever they wish....

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

another item we wish you to know..The contract they sent was not an original and does not have Troys signature on it...We did keep an original what we still have and it was never countersigned by the company and My son was never given a double signed copy.

My Thanks

LAYNE BARBER

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
Ultimately this is a restraint on your sons ability to work and I would be dubious if the clause was even enforceable. Non compete clauses tend to only be effective for very senior employees or where there is genuine commercial justification.
Therefore I do suspect that there is an element that these people think by writing a solicitors letter they maybe able to bully your son. For that reason I think your son has to respond to this letter with his own solicitors letter - if they see that your son has been advised it gives the added gravitas that he knows his rights and cannot necessarily be bullied.
What your son certainly will not be able to do is actively solicit clients and employees from his old place of work - as for not working at all, I do not think an injunction would be successful - the fact that they will not even qualify the restricted territory on a map shows that there must be some doubt as to the enforceability of the clause.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

We have responded to the letter ourselves at present but feel we may have to go the route you suggest eventually. What we find strange is they sent a copy of his contract with the terms , yet it was not his contract as it contained no signatures by himself or the company . That area is blank , yet he signed . Why would they send him an exact copy but the signature page be blank. Also his contract was never countersigned by the company. That area is left blank. The letter from the solicitor was received Saturday and having i request a response by Tuesday 12 MAY by 4pm...Surely that is unreasonable if we need to seek advice. I would say when he resigned he was a more senior figure and this comes down to money as he took the most earning for the company as he is good. Do you think he could get legal aid as he has no money as such that is why he had no choice but to take the offer and no assets .

Thank you

LAYNE

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
Does the contract they sent you even have his name on it?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes..it is exactly as his bar the signature part on both sides for himself and employer is blank...He kept his original copy which he signed but they did not...i can not understand if you are making allegations on a contract why you would not send a copy of the original..why would you send out a reprint without the signatures.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you. Are you saying your son signed a copy of the contract but never gave the salon a copy with his signature on it?
Was the contract even dated?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

yes its dated....what i am saying is he signed two contracts one for himself and one for the salon.....He says he signed both , we certainly have his original which he has signed but where it says signed on behalf of (employer) no one ever did sign it....the one they are showing us in the allegations has no signatures at all either my son or anyone on behalf of them. also i note the page on his original it is headed "statement of employment " and he signs to say he has read and accepted the "terms and conditions of employment" ..yet the list of can and can not do is headed "employer handbook " not terms and conditions of employment. But going back to the document if you are making allegations based on the document sent why would you not send a copied signed copy. Surely if you send a document with no signatures on it then there is no allegations to defend unless i see it wrong .

My Thanks again

LAYNE

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
Are the non compete restrictions contained in the hand book or in the employment contract itself?
If he signed and dated the contract then I would not get to hung up on what they are sending you - I would focus more on the fact that they have tried to impose restrictions on your son that affect his ability to work.
I would argue that these restrictions are likely unenforceable save to the extent that he should not be soliciting clients and employees from his old job during the 6 month period.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi again

Yes he signed a "statement of employment " which is one page sheet clipped to a "handbook" which just has sections headings and expectations.

It is very basic. At the moment they are only "threatening" the actions and he is continuing as per normal. He in no way solicited any clients but of course when they found he was still cutting locally they did choose freely to come to him and all are willing to say it was their free choice. It is sad as its a millionaire salon boss angry over my son with nothing earning a crust . And he may have lost a few bob....

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
I think from you have described I would be surprised if these were enforceable restrictions.
I would go straight to a local solicitor and get them to write a letter saying that you do not believe such onerous restrictions are enforceable and accordingly your son has done nothing but earn, he has not done anything to solicit or appropriate the business of his former employer.
If anything his new employer should pay the cost of doing this (unless he does not want to tell them) as his new employer could be dragged in as a defendant if they turn a blind eye to it.
Kind regards
AJ
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience: Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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