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MatthewM1117, Advocate
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 1519
Experience:  Expert
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Employer is trying to stop me working for 6 months due to

Customer Question

employer is trying to stop me working for 6 months due to restrictive covenants which would stop me earning a wage. Both myself and the new company I'm joining have been sent legal letters to stop this.
JA: Are you hourly or salaried? How many hours do you work each week?
Customer: Salaried and it would be around 37.5 hours
JA: Where are you located? Wage-and-hour laws vary by location.
Customer: Newcastle/Northumberland
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: no
Submitted: 15 days ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  MatthewM1117 replied 15 days ago.
Good afternoon thank you for contacting Just Answer my name is***** am a practising solicitor with several years experience and I will be assisting you today. Please note that this is a Q and A platform and no lawyer client relationship is created. I am sorry to hear about your circumstances, can you attach a copy of the letter so that I may review the same?
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
HI Matthew, please find the attached as requested, I'm just looking to understand my options etc. The client i'm joining sells the same products but is a distributor for products. My ex employer advised myself they see them as a competitor but the website says service partner. So it away it seems to me to be a contradiction. (Image of website attached advising they are a service partner.
Expert:  MatthewM1117 replied 15 days ago.

Thank you for the for the clarification, it is common for employment contracts to contain post-termination restrictive covenants. However, a covenant that restricts an employee's post-termination activities will be automatically unenforceable by being in restraint of trade, unless the employer can show that it was there to protect a legitimate business interest and did so in a reasonable way.

The courts try and balance the interests of the employer's business and the employee’s right to freedom of movement and earning a living. Such covenants will generally only be reasonable if in the process of working in competition, the employee has access to sensitive confidential information or they have influence over clients is so great that such a restriction is necessary.

Restrictive covenants are often used as a scare tactic by employers, however whether they are enforceable will often need to be decided by a court.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Thank you Matthew, so it really depends on the way in which the courts see the covenants and if they are too broad or vague. }~m7u6y89op0
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Or if they are imposed in the correct way. The role is the same industry but supplying products which arent the norm within the previous company. Is it best to have a solictor reply to the legal letter and go from there.
Expert:  MatthewM1117 replied 15 days ago.

Yes the courts will often view restrictive covenants on a case by case basis. Yes you could use a solicitor to respond to the letter if you wish. From experience I have seen several letter such as the attached, however it is rare for a company to pursue legal action because of the length of time and significant costs involved.

Expert:  MatthewM1117 replied 15 days ago.
Do you have any follow up questions?
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Thank you Matthew and that's all the questions I have
Expert:  MatthewM1117 replied 15 days ago.
Glad to be off assistance, if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me further.