Restrictive Covenants and Review of Terms

Much of how the relationship between an employee and their employer will operate is based on the terms of the employment contract. These terms set out the rights and obligations each party are bound by, such as salary, holiday entitlement and working conditions.

They also set out how the employment relationship can be brought to an end, such as the notice period and any post-termination restrictions. Negotiating these terms, or amending them to reflect changes to the relationship, is therefore an important process with important legal consequences.

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Contact our employment lawyers on 02071674800
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Crucially, the relationshipem between an individual employee and their employer is based on consent – both parties must agree to the terms they will be bound by. Whether you are joining a new  employer, or being offered new terms with an existing employer through promotion, transfer or sale of the business, we can advise you on the terms. In particular, if you have concerns about the extent of any restrictions that may bind you when you leave, such as preventing you from joining a competitor, we can advise whether they are likely to be enforceable. In most cases, depending on the bargaining position of the employee, we are able to advise on and negotiate for more favourable terms.

Below we provide a brief overview of some the key aspects of employment terms and restrictive covenants relevant to employees. If you require more information and would like to know how we can help, please contact our expert employment lawyers.

Review of Employment Terms for Employees

Broadly speaking, there are three different types of terms that govern the relationship between an individual employee and their employer:

  • Statutory – these are found in legislation and often automatically entitle employees to certain rights, such as the right to not be discriminated against. In most (although not all) cases, it isn’t possible to contract out of statutory terms, and any attempt to do so is likely to be void under the law.
  • Implied – these terms are read into an employment contract either because they are necessary to make the contract work or because they reflect a custom or practice of the industry or business. These can form the subject of negotiation and/or variation.
  • Express – these are found in various documents, such as the contract of employment, a letter of appointment, policies, standard terms & conditions, collective agreements and/or company/staff handbooks. It is these terms that are most commonly the subject of negotiation and/or variation.

Whether proposed by the employee or employer,  any changes to the terms of employment must be agreed to by both. While it’s possible for agreement to be made verbally, it’s best practice to ensure matters are put in writing and for the employer to provide written notification to the employee once agreement has been reached.

Changes to employment terms are relatively common in the course of employment and usually occur by mutual consent, such as by virtue of a promotion or pay increase, but problems can arise if more controversial changes are sought, such as relocation or a reduction in hours. This can raise complex matters that have the potential to become the subject of a dispute if not handled appropriately. For example, if an employer unilaterally imposes new employment terms without the employee’s agreement, the employee may be entitled to make a claim against their employer for breach of contract. However, if the employee continues to work under the new terms and doesn’t make it clear to the employer that they don’t accept them, it is highly likely that their adherence will be interpreted as consent to the new terms.

If you’re looking for expert advice on the terms of your employment, our specialist employment lawyers are ready to help. We will provide a comprehensive review so you are fully informed of both your own and your employer’s rights and obligations. We can also use our vast negotiating experience to help you get a better package while minimising the risk of disputes arising in the future. Please contact us for more information.

Specialist Advice on Restrictive Covenants for Employees

At Cavendish Employment Law, our specialist lawyers have particular expertise assisting employees with restrictive covenants. These are restrictions that are imposed on an employee for a set period after their employment has ended. They are aimed at protecting the former employer’s business and preventing the former employee from doing it damage. For example, a non-solicitation or non-dealing covenant may seek to prohibit a former employee from damaging the business’s relationships with its customers, clients and other trade connections.

Crucially, restrictive covenants will only be enforceable if they seek to protect a legitimate proprietary interest and are reasonable. Any post-termination restriction which doesn’t meet these two conditions will be void on the basis that it is in restraint of trade. Whether or not the covenant will be enforceable is therefore highly fact-specific: it depends on the interest the employer is looking to protect and whether or not the restraint imposed on the employee post-termination is reasonable.

This is a highly nuanced area of law that requires a deep understanding of the applicable case law and how it applies to the situation at hand. For assistance with the interpretation of restrictive covenants, including their potential enforceability, please contact us. We will provide comprehensive, practical advice, ensuring you’re fully informed of the legal consequences.

Expert Employment Lawyers, London

Cavendish Employment Law Limited is a specialist employment law firm with a Head Office in London and leading employment lawyers throughout the UK. We’re experts in this complex area of law, with a well-deserved reputation for not only getting results for our clients but also exceeding their expectations.

We’re a City law firm with a high profile and an enviable track record in advising and representing employees from all parts of the employment spectrum, including board directors, employees, fund managers, senior insurance brokers, leading bankers, hedge fund managers, middle-managers, and ancillary staff.

If you’re looking for expert assistance on the terms of your employment, we will give you practical advice that delivers the best possible outcome. Please contact us for more information.

100% Success Rate in Contentious Cases for both Employees & Employers

Contact our employment lawyers on 02071674800
or contact us online.

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