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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50148
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I was hoping you could advise on an query regarding

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I was hoping you could advise on an query regarding employment law.
My notice period is 3 months - see below for wording in the contract
The service and employment of the Employee hereunder may be terminated by either party giving to the other in writing not less than the following periods of notice:-
Length of Employment Notice
3 years and over 12 weeks
I have been offered a new position in a company which is not a competitor or client of my current company and in a very different role to the one that I have been in for the past 5 years.
If I can negotiate the 2 week notice period amicably and I leave after two weeks anyway am I opening myself up to a law suit?
Not sure if this helps, but despite performing the same job as my colleagues and having had excellent performance reviews I am still earning less than my colleagues who are at the same level (but older).
I would very much appreciate your advice and next steps.
Kind regards,

Hello for what reasons do you think you may be at risk of a law suit, what are your specific concerns?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben Jones ,If I leave earlier than my notice period isn't this breach of contract ?Thanks ,
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben Jones,I was under the impression that leaving earlier than my notice period (I'd like to leave in 2 weeks rather than in 3 months) would mean that I am in breach of contract. Doesn't that mean that I could be sued?I would not take any clients etc. and as per my earlier note I would work in a very different capacity to my current job/and for a very different company so I would not be in breach of my non-compete.I look forward to hearing from you.Many thanks

Hello Ildiko, if there is a written contract in place and it contains a specific clause detailing the notice period an employee is supposed to give if they wanted to leave their employment, they will be contractually bound by it. Therefore, if the employee fails to honour this notice period then they will be acting in breach of contract. The employer then has the option of suing the employee to seek compensation for damages resulting from their breach. However, in reality such claims are very rarely made. This is mainly due to the costs and time involved, also the relatively small damages that can be recovered. Also the employer has to show that actual losses have been incurred and often that is not easy to do. So whilst there is no way of predicting whether the employer will take this any further or not, chances are that they will not. A more likely outcome is that the employer refuses to provide a reference in the future or if they do, it could mention that the employee had breached their contract.

It is therefore best to try and negotiate a mutually acceptable notice period that would suit both parties. However, if that is not possible and there is a pressing need to leave early, that is still a possibility, subject to the risks identified above.

Finally, there are circumstances when an employee may be entitled to leave with immediate effect and without honouring their notice period. This occurs when an employer has committed a serious breach of contract first. The whole contract, including the notice periods, then becomes immediately void and the employee would be treated as being 'constructively dismissed'. So if there are reasons to believe the employer has acted in breach of contract, whether a breach of an express contractual term, or other breaches such as bullying, exposing the employee to unreasonable stress, discriminating against them, etc this reason can be relied on in order to leave with immediate effect. Whilst you may feel aggrieved that you are getting paid less than those who do the same job as you, that in itself is not illegal. There are many allowable reasons for paying differently even if people do the same job. Discriminatory reasons are not allowed but just because someone is older and gets paid more does not mean that age is the reason for the difference in pay. You have to be able identify age as being the actual factor behind the employer’s decision.

I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. 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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