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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49857
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I am a software developer working small business. I've

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I am a software developer working for a small business. I've brought in several clients through my own efforts, and now I'm thinking about going solo and servicing them, which they are all urging me to do.
My contract of employment says that I may not provide any unauthorised services or business to any of my employer's customers. I refused to sign it, because I thought that clause was unfair. I've been advised that, even though I didn't sign it, because I've worked there the contract terms are binding. Is that true?
Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Did you make it specifically clear that you were not agreeing to that clause, or did you jut refuse to sign the contract without specifying why?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I made it clear in conversation, but I don't have anything in writing.

There is a possibility that if you had started to work under the terms of the contract, you had accepted it in full and would be bound by all of its terms, even if you did not initially agree to them. Generally, you would be expected t make it clear to the employer that you are not accepting specific terms and that you are working under protest. There is no strict legal requirement for the way this is done as long as you had made it clear that you were not accepting the terms. Written refusal is always best as you have a record of what was discussed, the issue with having only done it verbally is that it is just your word against the employer’s and no one knows which way it may go if challenged further.
Should you go ahead and act against these restrictions then it is for the employer to decide on what to do next. The following are potential outcomes if the employer takes legal action:
• Obtain an interim injunction preventing the employee from doing certain things that would make them in breach of the restrictive covenant
• Seek compensation for damages that have directly resulted from the breach of the covenants
In the process they would need to prove that the restrictions were reasonable and enforceable and that you had agreed to them. Employers may not necessarily go as far as court though and they could just issue threats in the hope you accept their requests although you never know how serious they are about this until they take the next steps.
I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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