How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Ben Jones Your Own Question

Ben Jones
Ben Jones, Solicitor
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 39008
Experience:  Expert in UK Employment Law
29905560
Type Your UK Employment Law Question Here...
Ben Jones is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have just started a new job with a large DIY chain store

Resolved Question:

I have just started a new job with a large DIY chain store & signed the contract when it was presented to me on the first day. Only once when I had signed it did I hear that I had another offer that I prefer to take instead due to the job & its location. It says on this contract that I would need to give a months notice but I have only been there so far for two days! Also it was mentioned on the initial communication to me that I would get my contract in the post which never showed up before I had to start there & then I received further communication via email after I queried it that the contract would only be available to me on my first day to sign. Therefore I never saw sight of this contract early as they had said & I sort of feel forced to have had to sign it for them on the the day when I turned up all eager beaver.

I am worried what I might have to pay them now if I choose to leave there & not work any or perhaps just one weeks notice that I will need to give in order to accept the other job. After 2 days there I have not been paid & not taken receipt of company property other then general documents. Could the (being a big concern retailer) decide to sue me after just two days for breach of contract & if so what could it ever amount to ?

Your answers would be much appreciated.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.


When an employee wishes to leave their employment, they will usually be bound by one of two notice periods – a contractual one or a statutory one.


 


If there is a written contract in place and it contains a specific notice period, the employee will be contractually bound by it. If the employee fails to honour this notice period then technically they will be acting in breach of contract. The employer can then make a claim for breach of contract and seek compensation for damages resulting from that breach. However, such claims are very rarely made. This is mainly due to the costs and time required to do so, plus the uncertainty over the outcome. Whilst there is no way of predicting whether the employer will take this any further or not, chances are that they will not. A more probable outcome would be that the employer refuses to provide a reference in the future or if they do, it may mention that the employee had left in breach of contract.


 


It is therefore best to try and negotiate a mutually acceptable notice period that would suit both parties. However, if that is not possible, and there is a pressing need to leave immediately, that may be the only option, subject to the risks identified above.

Customer:

Hello Ben,

Customer:

Thanks for this reply & I take in all what you say where I have to say I sort of feel duped over this notice period I am looking like I may have to serve, however is there any reproach on it given the way it was done & I was almost made to sign it there on the day? I have proof of the email chain telling me that there had been a mistake & my contract was not coming in the post 3 days before after all.

Ben Jones :

That would be difficult to argue, it is common for employees to be given a contract and be asked to sign it once they have had a look at it. But as mentioned I have never seen an employer actually sue an employee for not giving their notice period and this is something that is usually reserved for high ranking executives where the potential damages are much more worthwhile pursuing

Customer:

I just thought it was a rather strange way for them to do things & perhaps it was a mistake as to where the paperwork got to. Based on your experience though I would be grateful to find out what if any cases had come up like this & even if they were to go down that road do you have any idea what I could be expected to pay to them ?

Ben Jones :

usually it would be costs with getting a replacement - they have a duty to mitigate their losses as soon as possible so for example they could get an agency worker at short notice and pass on the agency fees for that.

Customer:

Thanks and where this may have happened then am I assuming that the amount could be paid in installments & not all at the time? From leaving then I would assume if a hearing were to come up it would be after a few further letters & dates to appear. Would you also recommend that I discuss my options directly with them or go through Head office given the size of the organisation, I need to make a decision on this soon & I just need to get the ball rolling - so to speak!

Ben Jones :

that can be agreed with the employer and if it goes to court they can also consider your financial circumstances when ordering a lump sum or instalments. Usually you will get warning by letter that legal action is considered but I cannot say who it is best to speak to, if you have not spoken to HO yet then just your correspondence to those people who have contacted you or who you have dealt with until now

Customer:

Ok thanks for that & it gives me something to think about, I would guess they by mean of your first reply that they just might not really bother unless they really bare a grudge for some strange reason & given the fact that they have people applying for jobs there all the time online to them without even the need for agencies to source other willing applicants. I feel a bit silly really as I just got enthused offer getting a job & then two come at once where in the past I have been so watchful offer other types of other contracts & could n't see a situation like this coming. Just on more question & that is - do you get many people asking about this type of thing in the UK ?

Ben Jones :

This is a big company by the sounds of it and they will have much better things to do than to waste money and man hours on pursuing a claim against an employee where the costs they will be able to recover, if successful, will be minimal. I have answered similar questions on average of 2-3 times a month for the last 4 years on here

Ben Jones :

it is a common issue

Customer:

Many thanks for you answers Ben & frankness of your answers, it kind of makes me feel a little better that I was the only one! Unbelievable that this goes on so much though but that's the law in this country I suppose. I just found this site by means of searching but will indeed recommend to others. As for my immediate action I will sleep on it for tonight at least.

Customer:

All the best regards

Ben Jones :

You are most welcome. Please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service I have provided you with as that is an important part of our process. Thank you and all the best

Ben Jones, Solicitor
Satisfied Customers: 39008
Experience: Expert in UK Employment Law
Ben Jones and other UK Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • A quick response, a succinct and helpful answer in simple English. I believe I can now confront the counter party with confidence -- worth the 30 bucks! Rick Leeds, UK
< Last | Next >
  • A quick response, a succinct and helpful answer in simple English. I believe I can now confront the counter party with confidence -- worth the 30 bucks! Rick Leeds, UK
  • I did not know a French Law service existed and I was very impressed with the speed of reply --- very professional. Many thanks! Ms. Baker Alfafar, Spain
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie USA
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Ben Jones

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    7575
    Expert in UK Employment Law
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/venkoj/2010-02-20_133027_ben_pic.jpg Ben Jones's Avatar

    Ben Jones

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    7575
    Expert in UK Employment Law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/taratill/2010-03-09_111600_phpsik04M_c2AM.jpg Jenny McKenzie's Avatar

    Jenny McKenzie

    Satisfied Customers:

    1738
    10 Years of experience in Employment Law and HR
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/UK/UKSolicitorJA/2011-9-26_165252_lawyer.64x64.jpg UKSolicitorJA's Avatar

    UKSolicitorJA

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    377
    solicitor
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/Remus2004/2012-4-22_93111_2bigstockPortraitOfConfidentFemaleL6943985.64x64.jpg Jo C.'s Avatar

    Jo C.

    Barrister

    Satisfied Customers:

    150
    Over 5 years in practice.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/TO/touchwoodsden/JA.64x64.jpg Law Denning's Avatar

    Law Denning

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    82
    PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/Topadvisor/2010-5-18_221239_Me.jpg John Knox's Avatar

    John Knox

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    71
    Solicitor and Advocate
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JO/Josh2010/2012-4-29_19490_GettyImages80121770B.64x64.jpg Joshua's Avatar

    Joshua

    Laywer

    Satisfied Customers:

    46
    LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
 
 
 
Chat Now With A Solicitor
Ben Jones
Ben Jones
Solicitor
8156 Satisfied Customers
Expert in UK Employment Law