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Jenny
Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6339
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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We are a dance school of approximately 150 students. We had

Customer Question

We are a dance school of approximately 150 students. We had a self employed teacher teach for us for a little over 12 months. In her signed, employment contract it stated that the teacher would not teach any of the dance school children for a period of 12 months after she stopped teaching at our school. The exact wording within her contract is: "If stopping teaching for Energy School of Dancing you will give us at least one months notice and will not teach students from our school for at least one year." The teacher has now left after working her one month notice period. The teacher has now set up her own dance school and has taken approximately 20 of our children students with her. The manner in which she has taken our children has been quite underhand. The 20 students which have been poached each pay £11 a week. I have received the teachers invoice for her work for the final month;her notice period. The cost of her services is approximately £500. Where do I stand legally in not paying her invoice given that she has not honoured her contract and has 'poached' our children for her financial own gain (and our loss)? Is the contract which she has signed legally binding and if so, what options are available to me for the loss of earnings? (Can I take her to court for example?)

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you for your question and welcome.
Could you send me the exact wording of the non compete clause?
Did you pay any tax or national insurance on behalf of this lady?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi AJ

I have copied the entire contract below. The non-compete wording is within Section 1.

As the teacher was self employed, it was her responsibility to pay tax and NI, we did not pay any on her behalf.

Thanks for your help.

Further to our discussions, I set out below the terms on which you are engaged as a teacher at Energy School of Dancing.

1. Services

You will provide dance teaching services to Energy for 2 hrs on Tuesday 6-8 pm and 2 hrs on Wednesday 4.30-6.30pm during term time. Energy runs classes for students for three 13 to 15 week terms each year. You will be notified of term dates at least several weeks in advance of the start of the relevant term. There will be no break for half-term. If stopping teaching for Energy School of Dancing you will give us at least one months notice and will not teach students from our school for at least one year.

The way in which you teach these skills is up to you. In addition, you will be required to prepare the students for any performances organised by Energy.

2. Equipment

You are required to provide any equipment (such as cd players, cd’s of backing tracks, props etc.), which you may need during your classes. Where necessary, you will need to purchase these with your own money. Energy will not be able to reimburse you for these items.

3. Your unavailability

If you are unable to teach one week, it is your responsibility to find someone to act as a deputy and take your class. You must ensure that the deputy provided has the necessary skills to teach your students and that they have been cleared by the Criminal Records Bureau to teach children. If for any reason you are unable to find a deputy, you should inform Energy as soon as possible so that appropriate arrangements can be put in place.

If you are offered freelance work which means that you cannot continue to work for Energy, please inform me as soon as possible so that the school can make alternative arrangements. In the same way, if Energy no longer requires your services, it may terminate your engagement one months notice will be given.

4. Pay

Energy will pay you £20 per hour plus £10 per week for travel for carrying out the services set out above.

If you engage a deputy to cover your class, it is your responsibility to pay the deputy.

5. Self-employed status and tax

Energy is engaging you on a self-employed basis.

If you are not already registered as self-employed, it is your responsibility to register yourself and pay your own tax and national insurance contributions.

6. Insurance

Whilst you are teaching your Energy classes you are covered by Energy’s public liability insurance policy. You are not, however, covered for personal injury or accident to yourself whilst working. You are therefore advised to take out your own personal injury/accident cover.

7. Sick pay

If you are sick and unable to take your class, you are obliged to send a deputy to cover for you and pay him or her yourself. If for any reason you are unable to find a deputy to cover for you whilst you are off sick, you will not receive any pay.

8. Health and safety

Whilst they are in your class, you are responsible for the health and safety of the children you are teaching. You should therefore ensure that all classes are conducted with your students’ health and safety in mind.

9. Shows and Performances

You will be expected to prepare the students for Energy Performances, shows, competitions and exams in class time. If you choose to help out or attend at any of the events you will not be paid for this.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi thank you. I will review this, it may take me a little while but I will revert to you in the morning. Kind regards AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Any news?

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
I have reviewed this. Ultimately if you want to claim damages from her for breach of contract you would have to be prepared to sue her.
Can you quantify and prove all the losses you have suffered?
How many students did she teach in total?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

She taught over 40 of our students and more than half are leaving to join her school. Is this contract legally binding? If lots of children are leaving and paying her there fees now that is lose of earnings to us?

What is the chance of us winning if taking her to court?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have just received a claim form from the court asking for the money I owe her in wages, where do I stand with this? Can I make a counter claim?

Expert:  Jenny replied 2 years ago.
Hello would you still like help with this?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes please

Expert:  Jenny replied 2 years ago.
Hello the situation here is quite complicated. The clause in your contract amounts to a restraint of trade clause (otherwise known as a restrictive covenant).
These are enforceable insofar as they are not more widely drafted than necessary to protect a legitimate business interest.
It seems reasonably clear in the contract that the only thing the clause seeks to prevent her from doing is poaching your customers, it does not prevent her from otherwise trying to set up a business so it should be enforceable in a court of law.
You would be able to sue her for your direct financial loss as a result of her breach of the contract.
With regards ***** ***** invoice this is a separate issue, you can refuse to pay the invoice and say that this is because you consider she is in breach of contract and tell her that if she tries to sue you under the invoice you will counter claim for your losses to your business.
If you have any further questions please do ask. If I have answered your question I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer. Thank you and all the best.
Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6339
Experience: Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
Jenny and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have now agreed to pay the invoice at £10 per month.

I am now wanting to get an injunction to stop her teaching the students she was asked not to in her contract. How do i go about this? do I get a form online to fill in?

Tiffany

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Please can you help?

Expert:  Jenny replied 2 years ago.
Hi Tiffany, if you are looking at issuing an injunction this is something you really need to instruct a solicitor to do.
I would suggest calling local firms with employment departments. I would not advise doing an online form as if you get this wrong you could be landed with her legal costs.
Hope that helps.