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Breeching restrictive covenants in a contract I did not sign

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Hi guys and girls,

 

Hoping for a little advice here. I resigned a few weeks ago from my previous employer, for a multitude of reasons. One reason was that I saw the contract contained some fairly hefty restrictive covenants (ie, no compete for 3months), and I had wanted to set up my own business for some time. So I made the decision to resign before signing the dotted line. I only worked for this employer for 6-7 weeks.

I have since been setting up a small business, in the same field, working as a sole trader. Today, I was emailed by my ex-MD, stating I was in breech of my contract and he was contacting his solicitors. Where do I stand here?

The issue I face is that I was emailed my contract a week / 10days before resigning. ACAS seem to think that because I worked for a week, after seeing my contract (albeit not signing it / discussing it with the manager) that I am held by their terms.

 

This seems ridiculous to me. Are you telling me that after seeing a contract, you have to make an instant decision to resign, if you don't want to be held by their terms?

 

Any advice or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

 

Kind regards,

 

Tweeds

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I think they may be saying that by returning to work after being in receipt of the contract your accepting the conditions ineffect it is a implied contract. I think the course of action would of been to put in writing your concerns about the conditions of the contract before returning to work.

 

Please don't take my word for it as it's only information I think is right, no doubt the great people on here will give you more accurate info.

 

Good luck!

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Did you give the fact that you didn't wish to be bound by the restrictive covenants as a reason when you gave your notice?

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Did you give the fact that you didn't wish to be bound by the restrictive covenants as a reason when you gave your notice?

 

No, sadly not.

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Tricky, I can't say for sure, but I'd have thought that it stood in your favour that you resigned so shortly after recieving the proposed contract. There again, it does stand against ya that you didn't explicitly challenge the terms!

Will the business you're setting up actually be in direct competition with your former employer? Will you be targeting the same customers, for example?

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Tricky, I can't say for sure, but I'd have thought that it stood in your favour that you resigned so shortly after recieving the proposed contract. There again, it does stand against ya that you didn't explicitly challenge the terms!

Will the business you're setting up actually be in direct competition with your former employer? Will you be targeting the same customers, for example?

 

Yes but it's a general market, and would be difficult not to encroach on their contact list. Thanks for your help.

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Hi - you should be in the clear. A week's work would hardly be deemed to be sufficient for you to have accepted the terms on offer - after all, you studied them and then opted to leave and could hardly just walk out.

 

Your employer's solicitor will hopefully advise that such covenants are rarely enforceable unless it can be judged that you have something belonging to the previous employer and your use would lead to a significant financial loss. A general knowledge of the industry would be highly unlekely to qualify, and after such a short period of employment it is unlikely that you would have gained a significant amount of secret information which might prove damaging to their interests.


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