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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47902
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I'm self employed. Someone I have been doing contract work

Customer Question

I'm self employed. Someone I have been doing contract work required me to sign an addendum to my contract stating that I wouldn;t be able to work fro 6 months after the end of the contract without their permission. I emailed them yesterday to say I wouldn't sign and they didn't reply but they have closed down my email account. I assume I'm fired (although didn't do anything wrong) but want to check they still have to pay me money owed? And what about money for the rest of the contract that I won't be completing now?
Thanks, Jacqueline
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello did they mean that you cannot work anywhere for 6 months after leaving?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Effectively I can't work anywhere within my industry because the contract said I couldn't work for any of their competitors or any of their clients competitors. They then said that maybe I could work for some of their clients competitors but I would still have to get their permission first.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Did the contract contain a clause allowing for early termination?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes, with notice. Although wouldn't they be obliged to communicate that to me rather than just closing down my email account?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
They would not have been able to force you to accept these changes to your contract, but at the same time as you are self employed you are not protected against unfair dismissal, which means they could have dismissed you in return. Whist you could not claim for unfair dismissal, you would still be entitled to receive any termination notice period due under contract. In addition, you are entitled to be paid for any work undertaken to date. Your refusal to sign the addendum is not gross misconduct so they cannot dismiss you without notice. Ideally they should communicate the termination to you, rather than just closing down your email access, but that would not make any termination invalid or unlawful. So whilst you cannot challenge the termination itself, you are legally entitled to receive your pay for work done to date and pay to cover the notice period due under contract. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the options you have should they refuse to pay either of these amounts, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
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Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. Whenever a dispute arises over money owed by one party to another, the debtor can be pursued through the civil courts for recovery of the debt. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps: 1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the debtor to voluntarily pay what is due. 2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the debtor must be sent a formal letter asking them to repay the debt, or at least make arrangements for its repayment, within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to recover the debt. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action. 3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the debtor and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this. Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, thank you.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
you are welcome, all the best