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If I was given a pay rise and promotion to say 40,000 and…

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If I was given a...
If I was given a pay rise and promotion to say " £40,000 and promoted from sales executive to sales manager " Does this make my old contract void as it states salary £15,000 and sales executive ?
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: UK Law
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Answered in 1 minute by:
6/1/2011
Solicitor: Ben Jones, UK Lawyer replied 6 years ago
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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Hello, thanks for your question. Please press Accept when satisfied with my answer. For now please let me know how long ago the changes occurred?
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Well I left my company in february 2011. I started the company in July 2008 and was promoted in june 2009,

Since leaving the company My old mployer are seeking an injuction and damages as they think I have set up in direct competition as it states in my contract I'm not allowed for 6 months.

Even though I have not set up in direct competition I could do without the court cost and fees etc so was asking if this is something I could bring up ?
Solicitor: Ben Jones, UK Lawyer replied 6 years ago
I think it may be better if I explained the law surrounding restrictive covenants. Employers often wish to protect their business interests from unfair competition by employees and ex-employees. This is especially true for those employees who have knowledge of sensitive and valuable information, have considerable influence over the workforce or have strong customer connections. However, it is in the public interest to ensure that individuals are free to move between employers and use their skills, knowledge and experience.

It has become customary for employers to impose restrictions on employees' activities both during the employment and following its termination. However, under the doctrine of restraint of trade, any contractual term which seeks to restrict an individual's freedom to work for others or carry out his trade or business is void and unenforceable, unless the employer can show that it has a legitimate business interest that requires protection and the protection sought is no more than is reasonable, having regard to the interests of the parties and the public.

Legitimate business interests (LBI) are commonly accepted to include:
• Trade secrets and confidential information
• Trade or customer connections
• Stability of the workforce

An employer cannot impose a restrictive covenant merely to stop someone competing, but it can seek to stop that person using or damaging something which legitimately belongs to it, such as an LBI.

The restrictions that can be imposed on employees can be grouped into the following:

1. Non-solicitation covenants - an employee's personal influence over customers may be dealt with by a covenant preventing the employee from soliciting the customers of the employer. The covenant should be restricted to customers with whom the employee had contact during a specified period before termination. Other relevant factors may include the employee's level of seniority in the business, the extent of their role in securing new business, the loyalty or otherwise of customers in the relevant market and the length of similar restrictions in the employment contracts of competitors. Generally, restrictions against potential customers will be harder to enforce. Similarly, the employee may be restricted from soliciting their old colleagues. Any such clause will need to consider how long it will be before the influence over existing employees will be eliminated and replaced, and the scope of the classes of employees over whom such influence will exist.
2. Non-dealing covenants – this is a more general restriction and not only restricts solicitation of customers and employees but any general contact with them, even if they are the ones that have approached the employee in the first place. The enforceability of a non-dealing covenant will depend on the interest being protected. Similar considerations as for the enforcement of non-solicitation covenants will generally apply.
3. Non-competition covenants – as a matter of general law, employees are restricted from disclosing confidential information amounting to a trade secret after termination (for example, a manufacturing process). As with non-solicitation covenants, the restriction must be for a limited time. The geographical extent of the limitation must also be considered. Worldwide covenants have been held to be enforceable, but more specific restrictions can be enforceable if considered reasonable in the circumstances.

An employer seeking to enforce restrictive covenants may take steps to obtain an interim injunction. Alternatively, or if it is not successful in obtaining an injunction, it may also seek damages from the employee for breach of the covenants. In deciding whether to award damages the court will consider:
• Whether the covenant was enforceable.
• If so, whether the employee had breached the covenant.
• If so, whether that breach had caused the employer loss.
• If so, how that loss should be assessed.

In summary, the law on restrictive covenants is very subjective and depends largely on the individual circumstances of the business and the LBI that needs to be protected. There are no set rules and procedures, apart from the requirement for the restrictions to be reasonable and go no further than is required in the circumstances. Therefore, it is usually only down to the Courts to establish whether a restriction is enforceable and, if so, whether an injunction should be granted or damages should be awarded. Do bear the above advice in mind before deciding whether to proceed and potentially breach the restrictions you are subject to.

Please press Accept. I can expand my answer and provide more detailed advice and guidance as necessary and also answer any specific questions you may have. Thank you
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Law
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Sorry that was all a little confusing for me. Is it possible you could answer my question ?
Solicitor: Ben Jones, UK Lawyer replied 6 years ago
Sorry, I thought you could use some of this information to advise your employer that acting in competition is not in itself illegal and they can't simply prevent you from being a competitor. They can only prevent you from working in competition if in doing so you were using some legitimate business interest of theirs (e.g. client lists, confidential information, etc)
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Hi, thanks for the prompt reply.

This is what they are implying! They have gone to the lengh of trying to seek an injunction order and damages as they think I have stole data from them and set a company I'm competition. I have to go to high court on the 14 June. They are seeking damages also. The thing is I didn't steal data and didn't set up in competition. They say I'm in breach of my contract that why I asked if my contract would be void if my position and salary had changed .
Solicitor: Ben Jones, UK Lawyer replied 6 years ago

In relation to the contract, it is unlikely that the whole contract would have become void. The general principles would have continue to stand but the title and pay would have been amended through an implied variation.

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