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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 44883
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I was contracted by an employment agency to carry out

Customer Question

Hi,
I was contracted by an employment agency to carry out work for a large UK company. Although I was very happy with my work for the company, I wasn't happy with the behaviour of the agency, in particular, one of their managers, and so therefore I terminated my contract with the agency and moved to another agency.
The first agency have now told the end employer ie. the large UK company that they cannot use my services because it breaches their contract.
Are they unlawfully restraining my right to trade?
To be clear, i don't have a contract with the U.K. Company, my contract is with the new employment agency.
Thanks for your help.
Marcus
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. When did you start with them?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
November 2014, but I changed branch in October 2015.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.
Have yo checked these contracts to see what they prevent exactly?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
No, I don't think I ever had a copy of the contract. But what clause could their be to reasonably prevent me from going to another agency? Isn't the point of competition law to prevent these kind of restrictions?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.
Employment agencies have traditionally been eager to protect the revenue they get from supplying temporary workers to end user clients. They normally do so by including certain "restrictive covenants" or clauses within their contracts to either prevent a contractor from taking up direct employment with an end user, usually for the duration of the contract plus an extended period after termination, or which imposes a substantial fee if they do. The civil courts have on many occasions deliberated whether such "restrictive covenants" are fair and reasonable and there is still no single definitive answer. Under UK and EU legislation there have been attempts to allow workers to seek employment wherever they choose, without restriction, thus removing any restraint of trade prohibitions. The most relevant piece of legislation in this respect is Regulation 10 of The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003. Where a temporary contract between an agency and an end user contains provisions to charge fees in a situation where the worker is taken on by the end user, it must now also provide the option of an "extended period of hire" where the end user client continues to pay the agency margin while engaging the worker directly (or through another agency). Where there are provisions for the payment of a fee and/or an extended hire period, the Regulations state that they are unenforceable beyond 8 weeks from the termination of the contract (or, if longer, 14 weeks from the start of the contract). So effectively this creates a situation where an end user client who wishes to employ a contractor directly (or transfer the contractor to another agency) will have 3 options: 1. Pay the transfer fee stipulated in the contract.2. Pay the extended hire fee stipulated in the contract.3. Terminate the contract (presumably with due notice) and wait for the specified 8 or 14 week period to end. I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Yes, if I was now being directly employed by the end user, then the original agency would expect to be compensated accordingly. But I don't have any contractual agreement with the end user, I've simply exercised my right to end my contract with the first agency and taken my services to another agency who happens to service the same client. I now have a contractual arrangement with the second agency.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.
Yes but it would also depend on what the restrictions covered - it may not just cover direct employment it could be any employment in which case you may still fall foul of these terms, hence why you should try and see what they specifically cover.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.
Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. If this has answered your question please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars from the top of the page. I spend a lot of time and effort answering individual queries and I am not credited for my time until you leave your rating. If you still need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Many thanks.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.
Hello, do you need any further assistance or are you happy with the above response? Look forward to hearing from you.

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