Potential non-compete agreement restricting me from getting a new job

Found 4th Oct 2016
I started working for a consultancy back in May and literally one week later broke my leg. Fast forward three months and I've been housebound for so long that they've decided to let me go.

The company they consulted me out to where I worked for all of five days would like to hire me as a contractor, but they've been told I am not allowed to work there for 6 months after my employment ended with my previous employer, which was 26th August.

Now, I don't have a non-compete agreement anywhere to be seen, so I can only assume this is something my last employer signed with this company.

A few websites have suggested this could be fought with the clause that there is "no legitimate need to enforce" because, simply, I worked for a week and broke my leg, and then they got rid of me. To stop me from getting another job is almost malicious at this point.

Does anyone know of a service I can approach for help, or does anyone here have experience and advice about this issue?

18 Comments

Give ACAS a call!

call the former consultancy as they might be able to give a waiver due to commen sense.

Also, if you go to them as a contractor, technically you'd be employed by your own LTD company, and as such wouldn't be breaking the non-compete..

Edit: if you disagree with me, comment and say why.. people downvoting legitimate advice on here is crazy!
Edited by: "adam_holcombe" 4th Oct 2016

Nothing much you can do unless your new employer really wants you. I know someone
whose employer took the risk and hired the person but it was done secretly as they would have to
pay large amounts if that arrangement was revealed.

good luck

Original Poster

justanothercid

call the former consultancy as they might be able to give a waiver due to … call the former consultancy as they might be able to give a waiver due to commen sense.



Someone fairly high up the chain didn't even know the agreement existed. I asked him to give me details of someone else in the company I could talk to. The fact is, I haven't signed anything to say I won't work for a previous client so it's probably set out in the company to company agreement.

Original Poster

adam_holcombe

Also, if you go to them as a contractor, technically you'd be employed by … Also, if you go to them as a contractor, technically you'd be employed by your own LTD company, and as such wouldn't be breaking the non-compete..Edit: if you disagree with me, comment and say why.. people downvoting legitimate advice on here is crazy!



But then surely the consultancy, if they really wanted to, would just sue my LTD company as well as the company who took me on? Keep in mind the agreement isn't just about me, it's also set out as a responsibility for the company itself not to actively employ me.

dkl_uk

Someone fairly high up the chain didn't even know the agreement existed. … Someone fairly high up the chain didn't even know the agreement existed. I asked him to give me details of someone else in the company I could talk to. The fact is, I haven't signed anything to say I won't work for a previous client so it's probably set out in the company to company agreement.



​think your best bet is seeking some legal advise then but then as someone else said just move forward as the other company would have to prove they had lost out due to arrangement..

Original Poster

justanothercid

​think your best bet is seeking some legal advise then but then as s … ​think your best bet is seeking some legal advise then but then as someone else said just move forward as the other company would have to prove they had lost out due to arrangement..



Yeah, I've just left a message with a local law firm so I'm hoping they're happy to give me some gratis advice over the phone. The company who want me are huge, but I'm sure they could do without the headache if something goes wrong.

Banned

If you havent signed a contract with a non-compete cause then it doesn't exist.

You'll prob find its been 'inferred' but not actually enforced. If you've not agreed to it, it's difficult for them to enforce it.

Original Poster

I've just had an email pointing me at the part of the contract relevant to my issue. It's under "Restrictive Covenants" but from all of the legalese writing I can barely make out exactly where the 'you can't work for a client of ours' part is.

Banned

dkl_uk

I've just had an email pointing me at the part of the contract relevant … I've just had an email pointing me at the part of the contract relevant to my issue. It's under "Restrictive Covenants" but from all of the legalese writing I can barely make out exactly where the 'you can't work for a client of ours' part is.



Take a copy of the contract paragraphs & post it.

They are right.. It would be under "Restrictive Covenants" IF it exists.
Edited by: "YouDontWantToKnow" 4th Oct 2016

Banned

Oh. & by the way as they terminated your employment they would have a very hard time convincing any judge that any restriction on your future employment should apply.

Banned

Just read your post again.

The 6 months clause will be in most likely be in the contract between the consultancy & the business you worked at.

Nothing to do with what you signed. Therefor barring the employer offering you a contract direct until November. If they ignore the contract then they hold themselves liable for a bill of thousands.

This is hard to get around without the 2 businesses talking to each other & there is nothing you can do but talk to each party.

Original Poster

Here's a Dropbox link which contains three screenshot images from my contract. It's not "plain" English so I am failing to see the portion where it suggests I cannot work for a prior client. Keep in mind I was literally there for one week before breaking my leg, and was let go from the consultancy due to the logistical nightmare of travelling whilst on crutches.

Banned

dkl_uk

Here's a Dropbox link which contains three screenshot images from my … Here's a Dropbox link which contains three screenshot images from my contract. It's not "plain" English so I am failing to see the portion where it suggests I cannot work for a prior client. Keep in mind I was literally there for one week before breaking my leg, and was let go from the consultancy due to the logistical nightmare of travelling whilst on crutches.



Just read it.

It seems to me the restriction will be in the contract between the employer & the contractor you went through. Barring the employer from hiring you directly for a period of time (6 or 12 months). Should they do this they would be liable to pay a fee to the contractor/agency that introduced you to the company. That agreement is very hard for the company to avoid without written permission by the business that introduced you.

First/Only thing you should do is ask the business if they are willing to engage your services with permission of the agency/contractors on the same basis as they did in May & just go from there.

Original Poster

YouDontWantToKnow

Just read it. It seems to me the restriction will be in the contract … Just read it. It seems to me the restriction will be in the contract between the employer & the contractor you went through. Barring the employer from hiring you directly for a period of time (6 or 12 months). Should they do this they would be liable to pay a fee to the contractor/agency that introduced you to the company. That agreement is very hard for the company to avoid without written permission by the business that introduced you.First/Only thing you should do is ask the business if they are willing to engage your services with permission of the agency/contractors on the same basis as they did in May & just go from there.



Thanks for your insight. You're close - this was a consultancy that I was permanently employed with. I was with them from 9th May - 26th August, but on May 16th I broke my leg, being hospital/housebound for the entire period.

With that in mind, I literally 'worked' for them for one week, but the client I was placed with would like me back as a contractor. I've been told I need to get in touch with the consultancy head office, so I'm hoping they'll back down as this is heavily & unfairly weighted against me.

Banned

dkl_uk

Thanks for your insight. You're close - this was a consultancy that I was … Thanks for your insight. You're close - this was a consultancy that I was permanently employed with. I was with them from 9th May - 26th August, but on May 16th I broke my leg, being hospital/housebound for the entire period.With that in mind, I literally 'worked' for them for one week, but the client I was placed with would like me back as a contractor. I've been told I need to get in touch with the consultancy head office, so I'm hoping they'll back down as this is heavily & unfairly weighted against me.



As above. You found that job via an agency (a 3rd party) & when you started they billed your employer for the introduction (this would have been thousands of pounds). Once your employer let you go the "agency" would have given the money back because you were "not fit for purpose"

The business agreement between the "agency" & your "employer" would include wording that would include if they re-employed within 6/12 months the fee would be due payable again.

Hence "head office" would have to be willing to pay that money again. If the employer did re-employ you without repaying the fee & telling the "agency" then they would be taken to court & would have to cough up.

Hence head office (personnel or finance) needs to authorise the payment to the "agency" before re-employing you.

Best of luck.

Edited by: "YouDontWantToKnow" 5th Oct 2016
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