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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50191
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I work part time charity, one part of which provides

Customer Question

I work part time for a charity, one part of which provides training. I don't currently work in the training section, but have done in the past. I want to apply for one of a new set of roles within the charity (at higher pay), and part of these roles involves training work, although the advert says the roles will be flexible, so not all post holders will necessarily be involved in teaching (which is fine with me). The Job Description makes it clear that the post holder is expected to 'Refrain from working from a competitor training organisation'. Now, I do work for a competitor organisation in the rest of my week, and have done for many years (including when I worked within training for my employer in the past). I am concerned that this may now count against me at interview, and disadvantage my application, but don't want to make a fuss about this. What can I do, and what should my employer do?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dear Ben,

I have worked for the organisation for over twenty years in a part time capacity, including several changes of role during that time. I have worked three days/week for the past 10 years.

My training work with the other organisation began in 2008, two days a week. At that time I did do some training work for my current employer, but the contract did not mention anything about not working for competitors, and it was never a problem. I was re-deployed in 2011, and the new training post contracts did have a clause requiring consent of the employer if working for a competitor training organisation. However, as the new training work clashed with my external work anyway, I did not apply and accepted redeployment. It was never made clear if my external work would have prevented me being employed in a training role.


Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and will get back to you as soon as possible. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Many thanks for your patience. The fact that the new role specifically states you should not work in a competing business could unfortunately hamper your prospects for this position. This may not have been an issue for the current post you hold but you are after all applying for a new position and it could carry its own requirements and restrictions. Whilst that may be unfortunate, it is not unlawful and the employer has the right to decide whether they should place any such restrictions. After all they have the right to protect their business and if there is a conflict like this then it could adversely affect them and they can have these requirements in place to try and deal with any potential issues like this.
So there is no easy way to avoid this and the best advice is to be honest with the employer from the start. If they are informed about this right from the beginning it would be more favourable to you application as they could decide whether it is actually a conflict that they are concerned about or whether they would agree to relax the rules and consider you seriously or this position. However, it is for the employer to decide whether this is possible and how flexible they want to be – they may wish to relax some of the rules but keep other in place and it could be a compromise between you, however only they can discuss that with you s until you tell them I can’t say what the options really are.
I would not advise that you hide this from them. Taking on the job knowing this restriction is in place and breaching it could result in misconduct and you could be disciplined over it and in the worst case scenario even removed from that job. So be honest from the start and try to think of factors which you can show to the employer which would make this conflict less serious, e.g. if you think there are areas where there is no competition and basically try to make it clear that the rules should not be so strict and they should be applied on an individual basis, considering your circumstances.
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.

Dear Ben,

Thanks for your answer. It is clear, and as expected. However, I wonder if you could comment further on my request to my employer to indicate how my working for a competitor would affect my application. I would like a straight answer before applying because, if it would disqualify me, I don't want to go through the whole application process. However, their response suggests it is something they think I should discuss at interview. I find this odd, as it is a condition they have made, not one I have asked for.

Can I insist they tell me their position before I apply, or are they within their rights to require me to apply, and then discuss this at interview? They already know about the work I do for another employer, and (in my view) they already know enough about this employer to know if it would be a conflict of interest or not.

Your advice welcome.



Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello Donald, whilst you can ask them for clarification or confirmation of their position, you cannot force them to give you that. So if they really wanted to they could wait until the interview and sadly there is no way around that. If your original question has been answered I would be grateful if you could please quickly rate my answer by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page - it only takes a second to do and is an important part of our process. I can still answer follow up questions afterwards if needed. Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? If your query has been dealt with please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts from the top of the page. If you need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you.