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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49821
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I run a small business and have discovered an employee is also

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I run a small business and have discovered an employee is also working evenings for a competitor and has been for 3 months, that company is my main rival and has recently tendered for the same work as me and directly targets my customers the employee has been on holiday for a week and may hand is notice in if he does that's fine if he doesn't how do I stand I have never had a situation like this any help would be appreciated thankyou
Ben Jones : Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long has he worked for you?
Customer: 11years
Ben Jones :

Is there a restriction in his contract that deals with him not being able to work for a competitor or to hold a second job? Also how does him working for the competitor affect your business, does he use any confidential information from you to help the other employer or poach clients, etc?

Customer: He hasn't signed the latest contract which would have restricted him from working for a competitor
Ben Jones :

What about his actions, how are they directly affecting the business, is he using any specific information, client details, etc against you?

Customer: He's been lazy now I know why I hope he resigns
Ben Jones :

ok but can you please answer my last question above, thanks

Customer: No
Ben Jones :

If he decides to resign then that would be the end of the matter if you are happy to simply let him go and you then both go your separate ways. However, if he wants to stay working for you, you would need to consider taking some form of disciplinary action against him for his actions.

Whilst you do not have a specific contractual restriction which prevents him from working for a competitor or holding down another job whilst employed by you, it is still possible to rely on the implied term of mutual trust and confidence which exists in every employment relationship. This is a ‘catch all’ term which requires both parties to act in a manner which preserves the trust and confidence between them and anyone in breach of this could be acting in breach of the whole employment contract.

In your case you can rely on the employee working for a competitor as the alleged breach of this trust and confidence. The employee would not be expected to act in a way that breaches that trust and by working for a direct competitor, they could be guilty of that. However, it is not as easy as accusing them and taking action and if you are looking to dismiss them you will need to follow a full and fair disciplinary procedure, such as investigating the allegations, taking them through a formal disciplinary hearing, taking a decision and then allowing them to appeal.

If you both wish to avoid this you could make it clear where you stand and ask them to consider resigning and ending this amicably., If that is not his intention then you will have to go through the formal disciplinary procedure and seek to remove him that way.

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you

Customer: Many thanks
Ben Jones :

you are welcome

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