Employment Law Titbits

Our Employment Law Partner Geoff Lamb brings a couple of recent decisions which may be of interest.DSC_2846-2

The first concerns a Company making an employee redundant after a period of disability related sickness and whether that amounts to disability discrimination. No said the Employment Appeal Tribunal on the facts of the particular case.  It had become apparent to the employer during the employee’s sickness absence that they could manage without his post.  The Employment Tribunal had found that, although there was some link between the employee’s absence and the decision to make him redundant, this was not the same as finding he was dismissed because of his sickness absence.  The EAT upheld the Tribunal’s decision.

The second case of interest poses the question whether departing employees are under any duty to disclose to the employer their intention to set up a competing business once the period of their post-termination restrictions has expired. Two fairly senior employees (Technical Manager and Technical Sales Manager respectively) planned to set up a new Company in competition with their employer’s business.  When questioned by the employer after handing him their notice they lied.  The employer sought an Injunction and damages alleging they had breached their duty to answer questions truthfully and had misused confidential information to which they were privy.

A Deputy High Court Judge in the Chancery Division ruled “I am far from satisfied that these employees were under a duty to disclose their true intentions to [the employer]. The law will step in to prevent unfair competition or to hold employees to enforceable restrictive covenants or to protect confidential information.  Equally, employees must not induce others to breach their own contracts of employment, conspire to cause their employer injury or, in most cases, solicit their colleagues for their new enterprise.  Subject to these matters, employees are otherwise free to make their own way in the world.  I should therefore be reluctant to hold that an incident of the duty of fidelity is that, when asked a straight question, a departing employee is under a contractual obligation to explain his own confidential and nascent plans to set up in lawful competition”.

This may seem harsh upon the employer but I wonder what difference it would have made if they had been open about their intentions. The employer could not stop them once the post-termination restriction period had expired.  What the case is really about is whether the employees had misused confidential information to design and sell their own machines.  The claim for damages proceeds to trial.

The issue of truthfulness might have produced a different result if the employees had been more senior, for example, Directors of the Company, who owe greater fiduciary duties to the Company.

This entry was posted in Employment, Legal Briefs. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • In This Section

  • Zoe Ashton dealt with the matter honestly, openly and everything was made clear. Gave a feeling of satisfaction and knowing it was sorted out for the future. Thank you so much.
    Mr & Mrs D G Atkinson - Oldham
  • North Ainley Solicitors
    4.6
    Based on 45 reviews
    powered by Google
    Jonathan Taylor
    Jonathan Taylor
    16:59 01 Feb 20
    We just wanted to thank North Ainley Solicitors again for... all your help. From the initial conversation with Vinesh explaining the process to Cassie answering my many questions and getting us through the line! It’s always a stressful time moving home and we were so happy when you rang with the good news (and we could tell you were too!) and we have collected our keys for our gorgeous new home. We would most definitely recommend North Ainley to anybody moving house! Thanks for a great service.read more
    Maria Wheeldon
    Maria Wheeldon
    14:21 20 Dec 19
    I have just completed my sale and purchase of homes and... would strongly recommend north ainley to others based on the amazing customer experience I received from Cassie Stafford. Cassie made this whole process simple for me. She was attentive, personable, professional and amazing In all she did Thank you cassieread more
    Faz Sal
    Faz Sal
    10:00 18 Nov 19
    We came to North Ainley on 3 recommendations! Wanted to... say a huge thank you to Jill and Sophie in the conveyancing team. They have provided us a brilliant service and have always responded efficiently in a speedy and professional manner to our questions and emails. Jill and Sophie were very professional, caring and helpful at every stage of the process. Jill provided us with her great knowledge and her expert advice along the way and we really appreciated that. I would definitely recommend them as a team and would 100% use their services again! Thanks Jill and Sophie - we are so grateful for your help and genuine approach. Keep up the good work you are a credit to North Ainley! I would have no hesitation in recommending them and will use the company again for any future legal work I might need doing. Thank you :)read more
    Jason Saxon
    Jason Saxon
    14:05 17 Oct 19
    Would really recommend North Ainley. We dealt with Cassie... who was friendly and helpful throughout the whole process. We experienced challenges with our chain and Cassie always kept us up-to-date, re-assured us and did everything to push things along to completion. I would not hesitate to use them again. Thanks Cassie and co.read more
    Claire Wilmot
    Claire Wilmot
    10:03 16 Aug 19
    I have used North Ainley on several occasions for... conveyancing on investment properties and I cannot recommend them enough. Jill Gregory has been brilliant, she's very efficient and responsive to my emails. Jill replies promptly and made things easy by allowing me to do everything by email so I didn't have lots of paper going back and forth. Thank you Jill, and all the other staff behind the scenes, that have handled everything so well. I will continue recommend you to everyone who needs a solicitor! :)read more
    Lisa Wright
    Lisa Wright
    15:05 25 Feb 19
    Cassie was fantastic throughout our sale and would... recommend North Ainley if selling or buying a house.read more
    Lynn Findlater
    Lynn Findlater
    18:55 01 Dec 18
    I have used North Ainley for a number of years. They have... successfully dealt with my parent's wills and more recently the sale of 2 properties. The staff are exceptional and imparticular Cassie who took care of the whole process from start to finish whilst I was overseas. She diligently chased all third parties and kept me informed at all times. I would recommend North Ainley as they have proved themselves time and again over the last 10 years in all of my family's legal affairs.read more
    Idnan Ahmed
    Idnan Ahmed
    12:57 30 Nov 18
    Excellent service. handled my latest commercial purchase... professionally. Would recommend to anyone who is looking for a solicitors who are proffesional and easy to work with. Top service.read more
    Lucy Hoy
    Lucy Hoy
    16:39 27 Nov 18
    Excellent! Very friendly and fantastic communication... throughout. Nothing was to much trouble. Thankyou Vinesh and Cassie. Would definitely recommend.read more
    Anil M
    Anil M
    15:11 04 Nov 18
    Fantastic Solicitors firm. Very professional. Close to... Oldham Town Centre. Answer all your questions and concerns. Keep you upto date at every stage. I have used this firm for many years in buying and selling property. You can not go wrong using North Ainley Solicitors.read more
    Next Reviews
Menu