Businesses can protect their client base and confidential information from ex-employees, if they take the right steps at the outset. That’s according to James Heath, Solicitor at SAS Daniels LLP.
He urges employers to make sure that all employees have a contract of employment in place that includes restrictive covenants. Such covenants will protect an employer in the event of a member of staff leaving the business.
He said: “Recently, I was asked to advise a business that wanted to restrict an ex-employee from working for a competitor and from contacting their clients. This was not possible as no contract of employment was in place and such restrictions which we could have relied on needed to be in force prior to termination of employment. Unfortunately, in this case the ex-employee went to work for a direct competitor and was able to try and poach business clients from the former employer.”
James then went on to say: “No one wants to assume the worst but things can go wrong in an employment relationship and prevention of a potential issue is better than trying to cure it at a later date. The importance of having contracts of employment in place for all employees which include restrictive covenants should not be underestimated. It is important to note that restrictive covenants do need to be bespoke and drafted specifically to suit the needs of the employer. A one size fits all approach is an easy mistake that employers can make and will often render the covenant unenforceable.
It is also important to update covenants as employees’ progress within a company, otherwise they can become unenforceable. For example, a covenant drafted for a junior engineer or junior office worker is not going remain enforceable where that employee has progressed to a more senior role.”
SAS Daniels offers a free health check to all businesses that are looking to revise existing contracts of employment or advise where none are in place.
To arrange your free health check call James Heath on 0161 475 7675 in our employment team.