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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 49816
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Looking for advice regarding working in a company then

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Looking for advice regarding working in a company then starting own business in similar field.

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

Can you please provide more details

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben,My girlfriend and I have launched our line of beauty products and we sell on Amazon and through our website across the EU.We sell beauty products from Morocco and other products in the supplements category.My girlfriend currently works at Holland & Barret who as you may know sell supplements and beauty products. She has been working there for about 8 months now but has not told her manager or anyone that we also have a LTD company where we put in work in the evenings and weekends.Holland & Barret provide training that every staff member must take. The information my girlfriend learns, also helps in our company.She would like to tell her manager that we have a company in a similar field, but we are unsure what may happen if she does.We are nowhere close to be an actual competitor of H&B, but our year to date revenue is reaching £20,000. This is not enough to quit our jobs, so she will continue to work there for probably more than a year.Our company and her work do not interfere, she is one of the best employees there as she is passionate about the whole supplements & beauty stuff. She was recently promoted to a supervisor and looking to progress to assistant manager soon.We just don't know what our position is and if H&B can take legal action against us if / when we inform them of our company.Hope this give enough information, please let me know if I can provide any other details.Thanks,

Is there anything in the contract which prevents her from doing this?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have looked through it but seems like there was nothing in there about it. I can attach the files later this evening if you can take a look?There was only 1 paragraph that may be related.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The paragraph mentioned something like "Anything done at work belongs to H&B"

Ok if you can attach them please I will take a look later thanks

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben,Here is the contract, this seems to be the only contract we have.Thanks

Thank you. Firstly I see it refers to Staff Rules which form part of the contract so it would be worth checking these as well to see if there is anything relevant in there.

Clause 10 on Confidentiality will also likely be relevant because it says that any secret or confidential information acquired during her time with the company must not be discussed with anyone else so if she is sharing any such information with you for the purposes of your business then that could be a potential breach.

However, there is nothing in the contract which says that she must disclose any outside interests or that she is prevented from engaging in such. They cannot really take any legal action against her unless they can show that she has acted in breach of contract, such as breaching the confidentiality clause and that they have suffered losses as a result. If you are not competing with them then it is highly unlikely that they would have suffered any losses so legal action is rather unlikely in the circumstances.

There is however another issue linked to her length of service which does not give her as many rights as she may need in the circumstances and I can cover that as follow up advice.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the legal rights she has in this situation, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Ben,We will try to find the Staff Rules and see if anything is in there.We will be very careful as to what information she shares with me, especially anything that involves actual workplace information. One thing she does share is the information she learns in the courses about health and supplements provided by H&B. For example why I should take vitamin D, what it is, and what it does.. etc.. Most of this information is on Google or just general knowledge and she already knows a lot as it is a field she is interested in.She also shares and advises any customer in store as it is part of the job to advise on the things she learns, would that mean the course information is not confidential?We do not aim to compete and as far as I am aware H&B does not sell on Amazon, they do not have a storefront there.What is it about the "length of service"?Thanks,

It i unlikely that this would be confidential information unless it was something that had come from their own research. As to length of service, she has less than 2 years with them which means there is no protection against unfair dismissal. So sadly they can dismiss her for more or less any reason and without following a fair procedure. Therefore, even if she had done nothing wrong but they were unhappy with her activities, they can dismiss her. So bear that in mind when deciding on whether to disclose this to them, on the basis that there is no requirement for you to do so

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you

You are welcome