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Moving to a New Job/Current Contract
2

Moving to a New Job/Current Contract

Moving to a New Job/Current Contract

(OP)
Hi All, I've found the dream job for me. Small, tight-nit, technical team for customer support (telecoms) I'm moving to. Got the job, got a training budget, got a fair whack of a payrise... so I've handed in my notice at the other job.

They've came back to me and said that my contract says for a year after I leave them then I'm not allowed to work for another Comms company. I telephoned ACAS and they've said they can't hold me to that as long as I'm not a threat to there livelihood; which I am most definitely not.

I want to leave on amicable terms, I am 23 and have worked for my current company for 6 years. Not burning bridges with them as I have genuinely enjoyed about 4 and a half years of the 6 years.

Has anyone been in a similar situation? I am currently working 4 weeks notice but they've not said anything after pointing out that, that was in my contract. Any advice is appreciated.

"I'm worried and confused. So the first rule in the book is to spread it around."

RE: Moving to a New Job/Current Contract

This issue and question comes up from time to time. Note, I am not a lawyer, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express, so take my advice as being worth what you paid for it....
However, I did have this conversation on multiple occasions with a coworker at my last job, whose wife IS a labor contract lawyer for a major package delivery company. From our conversations, according to his wife, these types of "you can't work for ..." can not be used to prevent you from earning a livelihood. In effect, if your expertise is in ABC field, they can not tell you that you can not work for other companies in ABC field. This can also be taken to mean that once you are employed by ABC, trying to force you to leave ABC would be preventing you from earning a livelihood. I personally also find these "contracts" (I put that in quotes because in all likelihood it was presented to you at a point that made it an ultimatum from which you could only lose rather than a negotiation; btw was this part of the initial job offer negotiation or something forced upon you after you had left your previous employer) that stipulate you can't work for a generic industry to be very questionable with regards to enforceability. At most, I think they could enforce a non disclosure agreement of any proprietary information or stipulate that you can't work for XYZ, but not an entire industry.

Personally, I would be inclined to let this sleeping dog lie and go on your way quietly. In order to enforce such an agreement, they would be required to sue you, which would cost a lot of money and unless they think that there is reason that your leaving will place them in a larger jeopardy (as in thinking you will sell trade secrets) that will cost more, it won't be worth even trying.

RE: Moving to a New Job/Current Contract

(OP)
That is largely what I am thinking; so thank you for your re-assurances. It does seem to me a very underhanded thing to do and I must admit, as I had only just turned 18 when I started working at this current job the contract wasn't something that was big on my mind... I was just happy I had a start in an industry I wanted to work on. Although I have noticed my name is misspelled on the contract; I don't know if that would make a difference!

Again, many thanks for your help. It's something that is playing on my mind a bit. Nothing has been said outside of that but I have a feeling that they aren't going to let us go our separate ways amicably.

"I'm worried and confused. So the first rule in the book is to spread it around."

RE: Moving to a New Job/Current Contract

For what it's worth, I suggest that you work out your notice - work the same way you always have - then leave and start your new job.

Don't discuss your new job further with the current employer of any colleagues. I believe that it will go away and once you have your reference from your current employer you won't need them any more.

As Noway2 says, it would probably not be worth their while to pursue the matter. Good luck and enjoy your new job.

Aspiring to mediocrity since 1957

RE: Moving to a New Job/Current Contract

(OP)
Thank you; I think it may just be scare tactics to try and get me to stay. I've just got my head down and got back to work the notice since.

Only 3 weeks to go, it should fly in smile

"I'm worried and confused. So the first rule in the book is to spread it around."

RE: Moving to a New Job/Current Contract

Sam,

One thing, did they let you take the contract home and have your lawyer look it over? If they didn't give you the opportunity to properly review the document, then that could be an issue. Also the named beng misspelled is a big deal.

Jim C.

RE: Moving to a New Job/Current Contract

(OP)
In what sort of way would it be a big deal?

I have a copy at home that they gave me when I first joined; which I'm sure I still have in a filing cabinet at home. There's also been a part of it scored out and re-wrote but that happened before I signed it and was to do with a what time I start in mornings?

"I'm worried and confused. So the first rule in the book is to spread it around."

RE: Moving to a New Job/Current Contract

Quote:

In what sort of way would it be a big deal?

Lawyers love stuff like that.

If your name is "Joe Brown" but the contract refers to "Joe Browne" then that is clearly not you so your lawyer can make the claim that said contract is between someone named Joe Browne and the company ... but that has nothing to do with you.

I recall a court case recently in which the police incorrectly worded the charge being brought against a defendant and the judge threw it out on the grounds that no such charge exists in the criminal code.

Originally most of these contract constraints arose as non-compete clauses. You could not work for a company that was in direct competition with your current employer. They have since expanded to trying to ban you working in the same industry and most of those, as others have said, have been ruled invalid by the courts as being an attempt to deny you the right to earn a living.

RE: Moving to a New Job/Current Contract

IANAL... And my awareness of this is roughly similar to Noway2's, mostly from hearing from a former coworker that did take a noncompete employment clause to a lawyer and was told it was a waste of ink, legally speaking. That said, I would recommend that you do spend a few dollars for an hour of an employment lawyer's time and get their expert opinion. Among other things, your state might have significantly different laws regarding this than Noway's or mine.

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RE: Moving to a New Job/Current Contract

Also if you live in a right to work state, they pretty much can't stop you from working anywhere you want.

Jim C.

RE: Moving to a New Job/Current Contract

I believe Sam is in the UK.

I also believe (I'm not a lawyer) that any clause in the contract which restricts your ability to work in the same industry would be deemed invalid by a court should it come to it. The most your current employer can insist on is theat you do not approach any of their clients for a period - and it should be a defined and not excessive period - with the aim of taking their business from them.

Aspiring to mediocrity since 1957

RE: Moving to a New Job/Current Contract

(OP)
Indeed, I am based in Scotland in the UK.

Thank you all very much for your help. I think you have all said a lot of what I was thinking; however it is good to have the reassurance of people much more experienced than myself.

Can't thank you enough.

"I'm worried and confused. So the first rule in the book is to spread it around."

RE: Moving to a New Job/Current Contract

Whit Bit?

Aspiring to mediocrity since 1957

RE: Moving to a New Job/Current Contract

There is one thing I would like to add based upon the above discussion. If you believe that there is a chance that your leaving won't be amicable, it very well could be worth the small investment in having a lawyer on contact. If for example, you are called into an office to "discuss" (in other words be pressured on) any contracts, etc, you can take the approach of simply handing them your lawyers business card and telling them to talk to them. The sentient point being that having the lawyer on call would give you a readily available deflection should you need it.

When I left my last job, I expected a very much less than amicable parting based upon how the many departures I had witnessed had gone. On the advice of a well schooled colleague I seriously considered getting a lawyer for this very purpose. I didn't and thankfully I didn't need one. However, my departure did have an odd turn. Two days after I gave notice, I was called into the bosses office and told that while I would be paid for my 2 week notice period, that I was to leave the day after the morrow. An obviously made up excuse was given with averted glances, but the net result was I left with an extra paid week off.

RE: Moving to a New Job/Current Contract

(OP)
I think that will be the route I will go down(with the lawyer); I hope my situation gets resolved as well as yours did. It has got to the point I am now just wanting to go and get stuck in at pastures new.

"I'm worried and confused. So the first rule in the book is to spread it around."

RE: Moving to a New Job/Current Contract

Sam,

one of the few advantages we have over our colonial cousins is that contracts of employment are a standard item.
I am not a lawyer. However, experience of others shows that a contract which essentially forbids you from using your expertise in a particular field to earn your livelihood is unenforceable.

A former colleague who worked for a bank had a six month "no compete" clause in his contract.
He left, and the bank kicked up a fuss. When he pointed out that they were making it impossible for him to earn his living, they paid him six months salary, and no quibbling.

Consult a lawyer (for a fixed fee per hour, for one hour only :)) and get confirmation.
I think this sort of thing is rubbish in UK law, and even if it wasn't, the European court of Human Rights dines out on this sort of drivel.

Regards

T

RE: Moving to a New Job/Current Contract

(OP)
Thanks Thargy; I think I've came to the conclusion that this probably won't be an amicable split. It's good to have the re-assurance that others are thinking the same way that I am.

I currently searching around family members for a lawyer they recommend.

"I'm worried and confused. So the first rule in the book is to spread it around."

RE: Moving to a New Job/Current Contract

What area are you in? I may be able to recommend someone.

Aspiring to mediocrity since 1957

RE: Moving to a New Job/Current Contract

(OP)
I'm based in the East End of Glasgow but I can drive so anywhere in Glasgow would be best.

Thanks again!

"I'm worried and confused. So the first rule in the book is to spread it around."

RE: Moving to a New Job/Current Contract

I'm not sure if they can help with employment stuff but it would be worth a phone call to ask.

Wright's solicitors in Motherwell 01698 267361. Used them for something earlier in the year and they were good and reasonable.

Aspiring to mediocrity since 1957

RE: Moving to a New Job/Current Contract

(OP)
Thank you HJ; will be onto them this afternoon.

All of you have been very helpful; first time I've ever been in this sort of situation. So I've been a bit lost.

"I'm worried and confused. So the first rule in the book is to spread it around."

RE: Moving to a New Job/Current Contract

your post on the 25th of October said three weeks to go, which makes it about now that you're concluding at your current employment and about to move to your dream job; so how is it unfolding? did you find a good lawyer to have on call? any further rumblings from the higher-ups?

haffto know how it all played out.

RE: Moving to a New Job/Current Contract

(OP)
Funnily enough; I was just coming in to update this when you posted!

In the end they let me go quite easily; without complaints and quietly. Cut my notice short. Was very happy with that in the end; I think the stuff with the contract was just scare tactics. Left on good terms with them.

Worked out absolutely perfectly in the end.

Except I crashed my car on the way home from my last ever day at the old job :( that's another story though!

"I'm worried and confused. So the first rule in the book is to spread it around."

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