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  • FIRST POST
    • Bufger
    • By Bufger 16th Apr 19, 11:59 AM
    • 1,739Posts
    • 3,132Thanks
    Bufger
    Voluntary Redunancy clause restricting right to work in the UK
    • #1
    • 16th Apr 19, 11:59 AM
    Voluntary Redunancy clause restricting right to work in the UK 16th Apr 19 at 11:59 AM
    Can an employee rightfully restrict your ability to work in an entire industry? Case in point:

    Clause in voluntary redundancy contract says I cannot work for that company for 2 years, I cannot sub contract to that company for 2 years, I cannot work on any of their products or sites for 2 years.

    Is the latter part of that which is restrictive. This industry is small, its impossible for me to stay in this industry without working on the product of this employer as all of the suppliers have contracts with them and all the jobs available would be to handle multiple contracts (and this would usually be the main one).

    Can they legally enforce this? Can they tell that supply base to put them off employing anyone thats taking voluntary redunancy? I feel like it restricts my right to work. My skillsets are very specific and lend themselves to this type of job so there are only a handful of places I could go and earn what i'm earning now.

    Thanks for reading. Any advice is greatly appreciated (especially if you're a specialist in employment law!)
    MFW - <90k
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Page 1
    • BoGoF
    • By BoGoF 16th Apr 19, 12:02 PM
    • 4,242 Posts
    • 3,775 Thanks
    BoGoF
    • #2
    • 16th Apr 19, 12:02 PM
    • #2
    • 16th Apr 19, 12:02 PM
    Surely one for your legal adviser than internet strangers?
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 16th Apr 19, 1:30 PM
    • 3,135 Posts
    • 3,157 Thanks
    steampowered
    • #3
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:30 PM
    • #3
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:30 PM
    The courts take a very tough line on restrictive covenants against employees - they have to be no wider or longer than necessary.

    The general wisdom in the legal profession and in reported court cases over the past few years is that for regular employees the most you can get away with is a few months (if that); 6-12 months for very senior employees; more than that only for people like CEOs.

    A 2 year restrictive covenant would almost certainly be unenforceable for being excessively long unless you are a CEO type character.

    A clause which has the effect of locking you out of the industry entirely would again almost certainly be unenforceable, unless there were some pretty exceptional circumstances.

    So based on what you say, I think you can be pretty confident that the clause would not be enforceable if it ever ended up before a court.

    That said, even an unenforceable clause could be used to stir trouble for the future. It would be better to ask the company to amend the provision before you sign the voluntary redundancy agreement.
    • stator
    • By stator 16th Apr 19, 1:44 PM
    • 7,123 Posts
    • 4,903 Thanks
    stator
    • #4
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:44 PM
    • #4
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:44 PM
    Probably not legally enforceable but it may make you practically unemployable.


    No way I would sign it.



    Have you tried asking for parts of the clause to be removed?
    Changing the world, one sarcastic comment at a time.
    • polgara
    • By polgara 16th Apr 19, 1:52 PM
    • 408 Posts
    • 397 Thanks
    polgara
    • #5
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:52 PM
    • #5
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:52 PM
    Basically as this is a VOLUNTARY redundancy you would be effectively signing to say that you agree - negotiate to have that last section removed or accept it as part and parcel of the voluntary agreement.
    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 16th Apr 19, 2:31 PM
    • 22,417 Posts
    • 18,430 Thanks
    agrinnall
    • #6
    • 16th Apr 19, 2:31 PM
    • #6
    • 16th Apr 19, 2:31 PM
    There are 4 parts to the restriction:

    1. Working for the company
    2. Working for the company through a 3rd party
    3. Working on their products
    4. Working on their sites

    I think they can issue whatever restrictions they like for 1 and 2, and on the face of it 4 looks to be the same as 1.


    So the remainig question is what do they mean by "products" in 3? If, for instance, the product is software, I don't see that they could stop you working for another company that uses that product (at least, not directly, although they could have a word with that company that could make it difficult for you).
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 16th Apr 19, 2:43 PM
    • 7,223 Posts
    • 9,462 Thanks
    TBagpuss
    • #7
    • 16th Apr 19, 2:43 PM
    • #7
    • 16th Apr 19, 2:43 PM
    I wonder if they are using a cut & paste template and it would match better with certian other roles in their industr?

    However, as this is a voluntary agreement, negotiate to change the terms.

    1 seems unecessary as they can simply chose not to re-employ you. 2 I guess stops you immediately coming back at a higher cos as a subcontractor, - maybe negotiate to have that reduced to 6 months.

    3 & 4 seems fairly vague and likely to be unenforceable as they are too restrictive, negotiate to have them removed.
    • Dox
    • By Dox 16th Apr 19, 3:04 PM
    • 1,334 Posts
    • 993 Thanks
    Dox
    • #8
    • 16th Apr 19, 3:04 PM
    • #8
    • 16th Apr 19, 3:04 PM
    Surely one for your legal adviser than internet strangers?
    Originally posted by BoGoF
    Quite - and normally the employe would be paying the legal fees, or at least making a substantial contribution to them as part of the severance deal.
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 16th Apr 19, 4:26 PM
    • 35,552 Posts
    • 21,733 Thanks
    getmore4less
    • #9
    • 16th Apr 19, 4:26 PM
    • #9
    • 16th Apr 19, 4:26 PM
    VR. Tell them you have decided to stay.
    • TELLIT01
    • By TELLIT01 16th Apr 19, 4:48 PM
    • 6,275 Posts
    • 6,972 Thanks
    TELLIT01
    A restriction which in effect makes it impossible for you to work in the same industry would probably not be upheld in court. That is simply an educated guess and you really do need to run it by an expert in employment law.
    • Skibunny40
    • By Skibunny40 16th Apr 19, 4:50 PM
    • 192 Posts
    • 212 Thanks
    Skibunny40
    You're entitled to legal advice paid for by the employer to a certain amount - definitely use it!
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 16th Apr 19, 5:23 PM
    • 35,552 Posts
    • 21,733 Thanks
    getmore4less
    You're entitled to legal advice paid for by the employer to a certain amount - definitely use it!
    Originally posted by Skibunny40
    Not for VR no right to paid legal advice.
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 16th Apr 19, 5:33 PM
    • 35,552 Posts
    • 21,733 Thanks
    getmore4less
    There are 4 parts to the restriction:

    1. Working for the company
    2. Working for the company through a 3rd party
    3. Working on their products
    4. Working on their sites

    I think they can issue whatever restrictions they like for 1 and 2, and on the face of it 4 looks to be the same as 1.


    So the remainig question is what do they mean by "products" in 3? If, for instance, the product is software, I don't see that they could stop you working for another company that uses that product (at least, not directly, although they could have a word with that company that could make it difficult for you).
    Originally posted by agrinnall
    Boils down to 3. As the can just refuse to let you work with 1,2,4.

    More details needed on the industry or product type.
    • jonnygee2
    • By jonnygee2 16th Apr 19, 5:45 PM
    • 1,154 Posts
    • 1,159 Thanks
    jonnygee2
    There are 4 parts to the restriction:

    So the remainig question is what do they mean by "products" in 3? If, for instance, the product is software, I don't see that they could stop you working for another company that uses that product (at least, not directly, although they could have a word with that company that could make it difficult for you).
    Originally posted by agrinnall
    It's also an ambiguous preposition. But by 'work on their products' I think they might mean developing / helping to construct the product, rather than be an end user.
    • ReadingTim
    • By ReadingTim 17th Apr 19, 10:04 AM
    • 3,322 Posts
    • 4,968 Thanks
    ReadingTim
    Can an employee rightfully restrict your ability to work in an entire industry? Case in point:

    Clause in voluntary redundancy contract says I cannot work for that company for 2 years, I cannot sub contract to that company for 2 years, I cannot work on any of their products or sites for 2 years.

    Is the latter part of that which is restrictive. This industry is small, its impossible for me to stay in this industry without working on the product of this employer as all of the suppliers have contracts with them and all the jobs available would be to handle multiple contracts (and this would usually be the main one).

    Can they legally enforce this? Can they tell that supply base to put them off employing anyone thats taking voluntary redunancy? I feel like it restricts my right to work. My skillsets are very specific and lend themselves to this type of job so there are only a handful of places I could go and earn what i'm earning now.

    Thanks for reading. Any advice is greatly appreciated (especially if you're a specialist in employment law!)
    Originally posted by Bufger
    So they're not actually restricting you from working at all are they? There are plenty of places you can work, just not at a wage you like. Suspect you're on a hiding to nothing on this one.
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