Company prevents employee joining rival for 12 months
A company has been granted an injunction to prevent a former employee from going to work for one of its competitors for 12 months.
The employee had worked for the company for a number of years but became unhappy when he was given a new role. However, he continued to work there while he looked for opportunities elsewhere.
He later handed in his notice and informed the company that he was joining one of its rivals.
The company asked him not to leave for another 12 months but he refused.
The company then sought an injunction to prevent him joining its rival. It claimed he was in breach of a covenant in his contract which prevented him joining a competitor for at least 12 months after resigning.
The court granted the injunction. It held that the man’s knowledge of the company and its processes would be a factor in his actions in his new role at the rival business, whether it was his intention or not. This could cause serious damage to his former company’s success.
The employee tried to counter this by arguing that the covenant in the contract was unenforceable as he had been constructively dismissed after the company changed his role.
The court rejected this argument, pointing out that he had continued to work for the company for a period after his role had been changed. Any claim of restriction of trade were also invalid as the company had offered him a further 12 months employment which he had rejected.
Please contact Robert Bedford if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any matter relating to employment law and protecting your business.