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Need advice on what to do after being restricted by my old job. (hair stylist)


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Hi, this is actually in reference to my sister in law, but I hope you can help her/me.

 

She's a stylist, and 3 years ago she was taken on by a company. Part of the deal to bring her in, was that she brings all her clients with her. Which she did. She's done hair styling for 10 years (7 at that point)and over that time she has built up a portfolio of clients who ONLY go to her, they wont use the other stylists at the salons she has worked at, they just follow her.

 

Now when she was signed up, they gave her the promise of putting her through a management course and helping her to get to management level. They didn't do this, they sent her to a one day course (at her expense) and bought her some books for it.This was over a year ago, since then she has put herself through college to do a training course so she can teach people to cut hair. Again, no help from her employer.

 

She is now leaving this job, as they have not followed through on anything, and are now actually trying to get her to have trainees watch over her shoulder. She doesn't want to, because it upsets her clients, but they go funny with her if she doesn't do it. So it's horrible. She makes the company at least twice as much as the next stylist in the shop, and is booked constantly, but she gets pushed to one side in favour of someone else (the owners neice) So she left, and this is the problem now.

 

She should be working a notice til next Friday. They told her today to just go home. She makes about £60 a week in tips, and she has people booked this week to see her, and now she has to disappoint them, and she wont get the tip money either.

 

Then they've told her she cant work anywhere within 3 miles of the old salon.

 

She's been told she has to pay £950 for the management course, as they claim they had hidden expenses.

 

And her clients, the ones she has worked with for 10 years in some cases, she's been told that if they stop going there and go to her mobile stylist (for now) or her new salon (when she moves on) then they will sue her for stealing custom. These clients are the ones that bring the salon half it's weekly takings, so losing them would be a big hit for them, but they're not the salons clients. They're my sister in laws, and only want her to do their hair.

 

So what can she do? who does she need to speak to? She feels really threatened and backed in to a corner, and now she is going to be short her tips money, which is something she was relying on, and stuck arguing about this £950 and possibly not being able to use any client she's ever had.

 

please help.

 

Thank you

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Hi

 

This is quite a common problem with this sort of trade. Have to say its not my area of expertise.

However unless she signed a contract which stated that she was stopped from working for another employer or herself, then they possibly can't uphold that.

So in the mean time i would ask for a copy of the Contract as well as Terms and conditions, send it recorded delivery and give them 14 days to respond. Also the training fee stuff, again unless it is in the contract is unenforceable.

Also there is nothing to stop her from contacting her old clients and let them make their own minds up about who they want to cut their hair?

Also even if there is a restraint of trade [ROT] clause in the contract it is up to the employer to enforce that and prove that it is reasonable, why not find out how many other salons and mobile hair dresser there are in the area. If there are a lot that would make the ROT unworkable anyway.

Also don't forget they failed to provide the managerial training that she was offered as part of the inducement to join the company. 1 days training is hardly managerial training

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I agree entirely with the above. A restrictive clause would have to be agreed during the period of employment, not after it ceasing. The employer should have thought of that beforehand, and even then it would have to be deemed reasonable by a Court. She must also have signed an agreement to repay training costs or else this cannot be withheld from wages, nor can she be sued for the money afterwards.

 

She cannot be sued for clients going with her after she leaves - on what grounds? Competition is not unlawful!

 

Regarding the wages issue, the employer can ask her to leave straight away but must still pay her as normal until the effective date of leaving (and don't forget any accrued holiday!). Tips are more difficult, since by nature these are not guaranteed unless the employer receives them and gives a regular payment based on what is received. I am guessing that these are paid directly to your sister in law and don't go through wages? That being the case, she may well have to write this off, for whilst she could pursue it, there would no doubt be the inevitable question of how your S-I-L was paying tax on those earnings!

Any advice given is done so on the assumption that recipients will also take professional advice where appropriate.

 

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