Is the employer trying to change your contract or is this already in your contract.
Can we have the wording of any clause in the contract?
With regard to the training fees, is it in your contract or were you made aware that if you left the employer within a period of time, you would have to repay the training fees?
If you could let us have as much detail as possible it would really help.
It is likely that the £10,000 training fee repayment is going to a Unfair Term and hence would be unenforceable. In effect, means that people wouldn’t be able to leave in the first 2 years of their own free will because of this huge amount of money which presumably you didn’t have any choice in signing. There is case law Cleeve Link v Bryla from 2013 as to when such a clause may be enforceable. The key question is whether the purpose of the clause was to determine the employee from leaving or whether it represented a genuine pre-estimate of loss. The way it’s worded, with such a nice rounded figure and such a large figure and presumably, as they’ve had some benefit from you being there, it seems unlikely they could enforce that.
Regarding the restriction, it’s interesting that at the bottom of the page it says that consent to work for another company will not be unreasonably withheld. Hence, if you get a letter from your new employer that for the first 9 months they will not ask you to work in that field, then if the old employer will not give you consent, they are unreasonably withholding it.
Even so, as the nine-month restriction will stop you working in effect worldwide, for almost one year is unlikely to be enforceable. If it were 3 months, it would be enforceable. 6 months perhaps. 9 months probably not. 12 months almost certainly not. The court view is that any restriction like this must be no more than is reasonable to protect the interest of the original employer.
The Employers lawyers have produced this interesting fact sheet! http://www.slatergordon.co.uk/media/340283/post-termination.pdf
However if they apply to court to recover the £10,000 back from you, you are going to have to defend it and if you go to work with the other company without consent, and they apply to court for an injunction to prevent it, you are going to have to do defend that action. I’ve already said that what they are saying and trying to rely on is probably going to be unenforceable but if they do issue proceedings, you are going to have to deal with them. It might be worthwhile asking your new employers if they would instruct their own lawyers to deal with any court application on your behalf because it is after all in their own interests .
Can I clarify anything for you?
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We can still exchange emails.
Once you have left, you have left and if the court upheld their application for an injunction to stop you working for nine months, then you would be faced with finding a job somewhere else for that period.
If they try to take your pay, it is unlawful deduction from earnings and you can refer the matter to HMRC because they deal with such claims. You could also deal with it through the Employment Tribunal all the Small Claim Court but HMRC probably have a greater fear factor.
You might want to reply to the letter with something along the lines of “I do intend to take up employment with DECHRA, but they have confirmed that I will not be selling competing products and therefore, I trust that you will not unreasonably withhold consent in accordance with clause headed Restrictive Covenants in the contract of employment.”