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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, Solicitor
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 39026
Experience:  Expert in UK Employment Law
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I am self employed working under contract for one company.

Resolved Question:

I am self employed working under contract for one company. I have a 3 months notice period. I have resigned but I am being asked to work it but have had my IT support which I consider essential for my role withdrawn. Is this a Breach of Contract or Restraint of Trade?
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. Was the provision of this support mentioned in your contract?

Customer:

My contract says that I should be provided with administration support.

Ben Jones :

would that cover IT support?

Customer:

e-mail. access to my own clients information, reserve tools etc. Basically it was Remote Computer Access to the company's systems . As I am self employed I feel this really restricts my earning ability during the notice period.

Ben Jones :

have they said why they have withdrawn this?

Customer:

Basically they are worried that having access to the system I could, in theory , have access to all clients records not just my own.

Customer:

They say it is normal for notice periods, My argument is that it may be for those who are employed and recieving a salary but I am self employed.

Customer:

Hi Ben

Ben Jones :

does the contract say they can do this/

Customer:

Not specifically no. They say it is normal practice

Customer:

The actual wording is " The company agrees to provide the Partner with ongoing support including but not limited to business development, training compliance, administration and marketing".

Ben Jones :

Whilst it may be normal practice, if it is considered an essential part of your work then to apply this removal the employer should have really had a specific clause dealing with this in your contract. If the contract states you are to be provided with such support and they remove it during your notice period without the explicit right to do so, their actions can indeed amount to breach of contract. I would not go as far as saying this was a restraint of trade though.


 


If you wished to take this further you have a couple of options. Initially I would strongly suggest you try and resolve this directly with the employer, advise them of what you believe this amounts to and how it is a breach in the absence of a specific right to do this.


 


If you have no joy pursuing this route you can decide to treat the contract as being at an end and consider whether to take them to court for breach of contract and pursue compensation for any losses incurred as a result.

Customer:

If I consider it a Breach and just leave what are my options?

Ben Jones :

options in terms of what specifically?

Customer:

Sorry Ben a bit vague. If I just leave because I consider them in Breach I assume then I would be in a claim or counter claim position.

Ben Jones :

yes, if there has been a breached by the other party, which is serious enough to go to the root of the contract (for example make the contract impossible to operate) you can treat it as a fundamental breach of contract, treat the contract as at an end and leave immediately. You will then have the option to consider whether to claim breach of contract and pursue compensation for any losses or damages incurred ass a result of that breach. The employer can counter-claim if they want to but it would be for the court to consider who has a case

Customer:

Ok Ben. Thanks. You have helped a lot and put my mind at rest. I have been really worried. Bye for now

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

Customer:

I will.

Ben Jones, Solicitor
Satisfied Customers: 39026
Experience: Expert in UK Employment Law
Ben Jones and other UK Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

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Ben Jones
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Expert in UK Employment Law