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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50147
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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Question regarding my exposure / potential outcomes by breaching

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Question regarding my exposure / potential outcomes by breaching my existing contract of employment.
I am in my 4 week notice period of a fixed term contract
I would like to do some additional consultancy work during my notice period, but my existing company does not allow second jobs.
Any additional work would be done in my spare time.
The work is in a similar field/area of expertise.
Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How would your current employer be affected by this work?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The consulting work is SME advice on the state of the industry as a whole. It will get more specific about the types of equipment that companies such as mine (which is a regulated monopoly) may buy in the future.

I would not be giving any information that isn't in the public domain nor information specific to the inner working of my existing company.

It's a tricky situation because whilst generally you should not be restricted from working elsewhere in your own time and without using company resources or affecting their business, there is still a contractual restriction to that effect. What could therefore happen is that the employer trays your actions as misconduct and depending on how seriously they treat this it could amount to disciplinary action and even dismissal. Whether such actions are fair or reasonable would be for a tribunal to determine by you would ideally not want to find yourself in such a situation where you have to challenge a potential dismissal just a couple of weeks prior to your employment terminating normally via resignation. Whilst the dismissal itself could potentially be challenged that would take time and expenses so you may wish to avoid that happening in the first place by not breaking these restrictions. The best way would be to get the employers consent before you do as proposed. You never know, they may not have any issues with you doing this work when they know what it is and that it would not affect their business. It is better than them finding out via other means and drawing their own conclusions.
I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or 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 2 years ago.


My question is regarding the exposure or potential outcome.

The answer above is common sense, but what I would like to know is;

a) Can I go to jail

b) Could they take me to court for a financial claim, and if so, how would the exposure be calculated / assessed.

No you cannot go to jail for this, it is a breach of contract matter, this is a civil issue not a criminal one.
They could potentially pursue you for any losses they have incurred as a result of your breach. However, they must be able to show that such losses have been incurred. In the circumstances this is likely to be a loss of business for example or any other direct losses they have incurred as a result of your breach. If they cannot show losses they cannot sue you, the worst in the circumstances would therefore be just a dismissal.
Hope this clarifies your position?
Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Many thanks for the speedy reply.

Yes - you have answered my question with clarity.

Top rating submitted.

Best regards,

Many thanks and all the best