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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 55313
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I work in recruitment and I have a situation with my

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Hello! I work in recruitment and I have a situation with my previous employer. I would like to know how much he could limit my current activity. To be more specific, I had an employment contract with him, starting on the 12th of August 2014. I ended that contract firstly in May 2017, after my maternity leave, as I left the country. After 3 months, in August 2017, we decided to renew our contract and to test an idea to develop his business abroad. We signed a new starter form and decided to test that idea for 6 months to see how it goes. In April 2018 we decided it didn't go as expected and we ended our contract. I told him I want to go on my own and open my own recruitment agency - they are a recruitment company providing healthcare staff for care homes. He totally supported my initiative, and we even signed an agency contract. Last week he visited our website and got upset as we- me and my partner - used some testimonials from our former candidates who were placed by his company. They were recommending us personally - mentioned our names, and we never thought that would be a problem for him. Now he is saying that we are trying to work with the same care homes he does and he uses a clause from my previous employment contract - it says I can't work for his competition for 3 months after I ended the contract with them. My question is, does that clause in my employment contract still stands even if we signed a different contract - the agency one? isn't the last signed contract the one that matters? Can he limit my activity to not working with anyone he does? It is quite difficult for us to know which care homes he will contact or contacted as I didn't have access to that information anyway. Can he block my business? If required, I can send you scanned copies of our contracts and emails. Thank you!

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

So the only restriction you have is 3 months from the end of the previous contract?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hello Ben. Nice to meet you. Basically, yes. There are some other clauses there though. I attached some scanned copies of all contracts and emails. How can I send them to you to make sure you receive them?

there is an upload function on this page where you can attach files

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Ok, I tried that before. I'm trying again. I hope you can see the files now. Thank you!

OK, I got them, thanks. The key here is what happened to the contract from 2014 – you say it was terminated in 2017 but how did that happen, did you give formal notice of termination?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hello. Yes, I gave formal notice of termination in 2017, with a signed resignation letter and all. But then after 3 months, August 2017, we agreed to try and develop his business abroad, in Romania, to do English courses with his candidates, presentations to nursing schools and recruitment events. He said we should try that for 6 months to see how it goes. So I started working for him again but without signing a new contract, just a New starter form. In April this year (2018), we decided that it didn't go as expected and in an email, we both decided to end my activity here. I didn't write a formal resignation letter this time. But I received my P45 from accounts saying the contract ended. Then we decided I would do independent recruitment for him but I told him I will open an agency, which he totally supported. We signed an agency contract, but after a few days, he sent that email saying that he's not working with us as he thinks that we might be his competition. We are not, but anyways.. We already removed those testimonials that got him so upset from our website, and that's that.

Ok, thank you. So you had a contract from 2014, which is the one that contained all the restrictive clauses about what you can and can’t do after you stop working for them. This only prevented certain activities for 3 months after termination. You did officially terminate that contract in 2017, therefore the time for these restrictions would have started to run from then. By now they will no longer be relevant as the time they applied for would have expired.

When you re-joined them a few months later, you only had a new starter form and no formal contract or new restrictions. The old restrictions would not have transferred over to the new employment with them – they would have no linger been relevant and if they wanted to restrict you in any way, they should have introduced new ones in a new contract when you went back to them in 2017.

Whilst using reviews from previous customers of theirs may have been a bit cheeky on your part, you have removed these, so they cannot do much about that now. Anything else, which was potentially restricted under the old contract will not be actionable as the contract has expired and they never re-introduced the restrictions in a new contract.

I trust this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above - this is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you still need me to clarify anything else, please reply on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you

Ben Jones and 2 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hello, Ben. Yes, you answered my query perfectly and completely! Many thanks for that!

you are welcome and all the best