We often hear from clients and contacts about employment law myths – sometimes they come from employees who think they know their rights, but sometimes they come from mistaken employers. We want to set the record straight!
“Restrictive covenants aren’t worth the paper they’re written on”
We’ve come across both employers and employees that think this. In fact, if restrictive covenants are properly drafted and are tailored to both the specific business and the nature of the employee’s work, they stand a good chance of being enforceable. The way that the courts view the restrictions is that they are void unless they are to protect a legitimate business interest and are reasonable in scope. Recent case law shows that the courts are increasingly prepared to enforce restrictions, especially against departing senior employees. They are however very expensive to enforce, so litigation is not something to enter into lightly – but if you want to protect your confidential information, customers or staff, it is definitely worth having them in place, even if they just act as a deterrent.
“You need a year’s service to bring a claim”
It depends what the claim is for! You don’t need any length of service to bring some claims, such as discrimination or whistleblowing. Discrimination claims can even be brought by job applicants. For most unfair dismissal claims, 51 weeks’ service is required. The reason it is 51 weeks rather than 52 is that employees can add on their one week’s statutory minimum notice period. Many employers aren’t aware of this and it has caught many people out in the past, so beware! There are certain types of automatically unfair dismissal claim that don’t require a minimum period of service, such as dismissal by reason of pregnancy. However, where the dismissal is for a reason related to a transfer of undertaking under TUPE, an employee who wants to claim automatically unfair dismissal will still need 51 weeks’ service.
Are you dealing with any employment law issues? Would you like some advice on restrictive covenants? Why not give us a call for a free initial chat to talk things through? See our contact us page for our details.