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Beware post-termination covenants in your contract of employment. They could restrict your options when you move jobs.

It is usual for employers to insert clauses (especially into senior employees’ contracts) which seek to restrict their conduct post-termination. It is also, however, becoming more and more common for employers to put these into the contracts of junior employees. But what are they?

The types of post termination restrictive covenants which you may find in your employment contract are:

  • Non- Competition Clause – This seeks to prevent you from working for a competitor in a similar role to the one you previously held, and also prevents you from setting up a competing business.
  • Non-Solicitation Clause – This imposes a duty not to approach your ex-employers customers or prospective customers. Usually, this is with specific reference to those customers you had direct dealing with for the 12 month period prior to your termination date.
  • Non-Dealing Clause – This is more onerous than a non-solicitation clause in that it prevents you from dealing with your ex-employers customers whether you encourage them or not. So if they approach you, the restriction would bite in the same way as it would by you soliciting them.
  • Non-Poaching Clause – This aims to prevent you from taking key employees with you to your new employment or business

In order to be enforceable, the restrictive covenants will need to prevent you from one of the above activities for a set period of time after termination of your employment (usually 6, but sometimes 3 or 12 months). read more…

Performance Improvement Plans often lead to Settlement Agreements. But what are they, and what are your rights?

What are Performance Improvement Plans?

Performance Improvement Plans (also commonly referred to as “PIP’s”) are used by employers as a means of tackling poorly performing employees and can lead to the dismissal of an employee on capability grounds. It is often, therefore, seen as a tactical step by an employer to reduce any risks to subsequent claims for unfair dismissal from employees.

What happens when you are placed on a PIP?

In the first instance, you should be informed of the PIP in writing and you should be asked to agree and sign the document.  The PIP should clearly set out the areas in which you have been failing. It should further specify the improvements that are expected of you, including measurable objectives as well as the time frame within which you should achieve your targets. It should also set out the frequency of reviews, any support or training that will be provided and the consequences of failing to achieve your targets.

Employees on PIP’s usually find that they are subjected to strict targets of improvement which are usually set to be achieved in a short period of time. The targets can often be seen by such employees to be unreasonable in nature and equally, unattainable. If you have been subjected to a similar PIP, you might question the reason behind which you were placed on a PIP. This might give you an indication as to the real reason for the PIP and allows you to prepare for the possible outcomes.

What are the options available to you?

At the first opportunity, you should seek legal advice if possible. It is sometimes common for employees to seek legal advice at the later stage of a PIP and near to their dismissal. Although it is not too late to obtain a settlement for such employees, it can sometimes make it difficult to negotiate and obtain an optimum settlement. read more…

If you have been offered a settlement agreement, you may have been made redundant. But what does redundancy mean, what are the processes and entitlements, and how do you know if it’s fair?

By employment lawyer, Philip Landau

What does a redundancy mean?

You are redundant if you are dismissed because the need for the particular work that you carry out either at your place of work or in the business as a whole has ceased or diminish, or is expected to cease or diminish. This includes where the business or the actual place where you work is closing down.

When might a redundancy be unfair?

The most usual reasons for an unfair redundancy is where  your role is not genuinely redundant, or your employer does not follow a fair process  in making  you redundant. In these circumstances,  you may be able to make  a claim for unfair dismissal or  discrimination. read more…

Get ready for an early exit if you are underperforming at work, as “settlement agreements” are about to take centre stage. Employment lawyer Philip Landau looks ahead at the practical implications.

You may be familiar with the term “compromise agreement”. This is a termination document which you are often asked to sign when you leave employment to ensure that you cannot make any claim against your employer. Later this year, the document will be renamed “settlement agreement” and is being introduced by a new law, which is part of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill presently going through Parliament. But that’s not all. read more…