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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50182
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I am working on a contract where there is more than one company.

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I am working on a contract where there is more than one company. Can I be prohibited moving from my present employer to another on the same contract?
Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Can you please explain the structure of this working arrangement in a bit more detail?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Ben I am working on a contract that was a joint venture of 4 companys. My company has withdrawn from the jv. I have been offered a position with another company on the same contract through a friend. This is a more senior position with a better salary package. However I am now being told that I will still be offered a position with one of the two other JV members but on exactly the same deal as I have at present. I have been told there is "a gentlemens agreement" between the JV members not to take staff from each other and that "it would not be forgotten" if I went to work for my preferred option. This is causing me great stress as this is my first job in 9 months and I want the best deal I can get.

Are there any written contractual restrictions preventing this from happening?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No contractual agreements that I am aware of. The three companies involved are major players in the British construction industry. I don't want to incur the wrath of those at the "top of the tree" within their managerial structure.I am prepared to deal with any "fallout" but I need to know my legal position before I incur that Wrath.

It appears that this is all an agreement between the companies rather than a formal restriction you would be bound by. In the absence of a formal restrictive covenant in your contract you would legally be allowed to work for any of these companies so from a legal perspective you would not be doing anything wrong by moving. However, these informal agreements could prevent that because it may prompt an employer to refuse to employ you as they would wish to adhere to this gentlemen’s agreement. Legally they can do that – they are not in any way obliged to take you on and they have the right to refuse to offer you a job with them. So even if you have no restrictions and have done nothing wrong, they still have the final say as to whether they take you on or not. It is their prerogative to choose who they employ.
Even if they do take you on, that could create future repercussions for you in the industry. For example, word may spread about your actions and that could result in other employers refusing to offer you work in the future. Again, that is not illegal on their part. As long as they are not discriminating against you on grounds such as your age, gender, race, religion, etc they can choose whatever factors they want to decide on whether they would like to take you on or not. In small industries where your name could be associated with your actions and these are frowned upon, they could use these to affect your employability in this sector. No one can predict whether that would happen or to exactly what an extent it may affect you but it is a risk.
So you need to decide whether that is a potential outcome and if employers may go to such lengths to affect your work in the future. But legally you can work for any of them, as long as they are willing to take you on.
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
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