1. Dear Alex, an employee owes an employer a duty of loyalty whilst employed by that employer. This means that the employee must not do anything which will harm the interests of the employer and must act in the interests of the employer whilst employed there. Additionally, be aware that an employer owns any Intellectual Property created by the employee whilst employed by him and which arises from the course of his work. So, you need to be aware of these two principles before you embark upon working for this new employer.
2. There is nothing to prevent you starting your business whilst employed by the employer. However, you need to be aware of any restraint of trade clause in your employment contract. Many technology contracts contain restraint of trade clauses which prevent the employee acting in a related business whilst employed by the employer. So check your employment contract before you sign it.
3. Be aware that an aspect of the duty of loyalty is that the employee will not compete with the interests of the employer. So, whilst your employer is not a direct competitor of your new business, you need to consider if you are competing with your employer, even tangentially if you set up your business. So avoid competing directly with the employer.
4. Keeping a copy of your business plan with a solicitor is a good idea if you don't get sued by your employer for competing with him. However, it is a bad idea if you do get sued for competing as it will show you acted at all times in your own interests and not in the interests of your employer.
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6. You will need to see the actual restraint of Trade clause in order to determine whether your course of conduct falls within its ambit. There is no definite answer to the question whether you did nothing until you left your employer would put you within its ambit. Secondly, you can remain a director of a limited company even if you are working for an employer. There is no conflict so long as you don't compete with your employer.
7. Whether you are a director or not is not key to the issue at stake. The issue is whether you infringe your duty of loyalty to an employer by being involved in a rival if not directly competing business. Merely avoiding being a director does not absolve you from your obligations. Being a director might mean you infringe the obligation of loyalty but so too would you if you were a shareholder and not a director.