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MFM

Any lawyers on here?

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I've just been made redundant due to this coronavirus situation we're in. My employer of 17 years realised they never had me sign my updated employment contract which has a restrictive covenant clause which states I'm prohibited from contacting any of my old clients for 6 months. Meaning they can't enforce the terms of that contract. 

Two days before the end of my employment they sent me an agreement similar to what it says in the contract and said if I don't sign it, they won't pay a penny of my redundancy money. I have refused. 

I've since had an employment law firm take my case who will bring a claim against my employer, but this will cost me around £5k and take months potentially.

Then I had a thought pop into my head this evening. If they force me to sign their agreement, then surely it must be null and void as I am signing it under duress? As far as I know, no contract signed under duress is enforceable. This way I get to keep all my hard earned money and not pay a solicitor thousands for nothing. 

Can anyone shed some light? 

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9 minutes ago, D 4 Damage said:

Wish I could help, they sound like cu**s...

They are. They would f*uck over their own dead grandmother to save a few pennies. 

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If its statutory redundancy, its compulsory to pay, not discretionary. If its enhanced then there are a lot factors that play into it

The restricted covenant, if you breach it, technically they could sue but would they invest time and money to do that? They could contact your next employer but if you gave your side of the story, the likely hood it affecting your next employment is slim 

 

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7 minutes ago, jake87 said:

The restricted covenant, if you breach it, technically they could sue but would they invest time and money to do that? 

They can't because they never gave me the contract to sign. 

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16 minutes ago, MFM said:

They can't because they never gave me the contract to sign. 

Sorry I meant to say if you decide to sign it and take the money 

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13 minutes ago, MFM said:

They can't because they never gave me the contract to sign. 

I am a lawyer but this isn’t really my area, however:

They have to pay you statutory. If they are offering an enhanced payment over and above statutory they are within their rights to attach conditions to it such as the ones you mention.

If you have never signed any contract previously with regards to restricted covenants they cannot ask you to do so now unless they are insisting on it before payment of an enhanced redundancy package. This can include payment of notice where you are not required to attend work throughout your statutory notice period.

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1 minute ago, Sasnak said:

I am a lawyer but this isn’t really my area, however:

They have to pay you statutory. If they are offering an enhanced payment over and above statutory they are within their rights to attach conditions to it such as the ones you mention.

If you have never signed any contract previously with regards to restricted covenants they cannot ask you to do so now unless they are insisting on it before payment of an enhanced redundancy package. This can include payment of notice where you are not required to attend work throughout your statutory notice period.

100%. But they aren't offering me an enhanced compensation package of any kind. They are holding my statutory redundancy payment ransom unless I sign the contract they never asked me to sign before. 

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13 minutes ago, MFM said:

100%. But they aren't offering me an enhanced compensation package of any kind. They are holding my statutory redundancy payment ransom unless I sign the contract they never asked me to sign before. 

Unlawful. Unfortunately enforcing your civil rights isn’t always that easy. I’m not sure if it would be a straightforward County Court Summons to your employer for the amount you are owed. As stated previously, this isn’t my area of law. Speak to Acas. @AncientOldBloke might be able to help if he has time.

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Before paying over £5k, are you a member of a trade union? Alternatively, it may be worth checking your home insurance policy. Many of them cover legal expenses and may cover employment issues. Another avenue you could go down in Citizen’s Advice, although I’m not sure how competent their advice is. 

Depending on what field you’re in, it might be worth giving serious thought to whether you would need to contact ex clients. If you’re unlikely to contact them, it might be worth just signing the agreement if it results in an enhanced payout. 
 

Hope it works out for you. 

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The easiest, cheapest and quickest way to get my money would be to sign the contract. The thing I'm trying to ascertain is, if I did sign it now, as far as I can see it still wouldn't be binding as I was forced to sign it under duress.

If I did poach any of their clients and they took legal action, I can't see any magistrate or judge upholding it if they find out they unlawfully kept my redundancy money because their house wasn't in order. 

I'm not immediately planning on contacting my old clients, but I need to keep it as an option as I might start my own business. Plus, I'm not going to give those c*nts the satisfaction of doing me in any further if I can help it. 

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10 minutes ago, MFM said:

The easiest, cheapest and quickest way to get my money would be to sign the contract. The thing I'm trying to ascertain is, if I did sign it now, as far as I can see it still wouldn't be binding as I was forced to sign it under duress.

If I did poach any of their clients and they took legal action, I can't see any magistrate or judge upholding it if they find out they unlawfully kept my redundancy money because their house wasn't in order. 

I'm not immediately planning on contacting my old clients, but I need to keep it as an option as I might start my own business. Plus, I'm not going to give those c*nts the satisfaction of doing me in any further if I can help it. 

The issue you may have, is if they didn’t pay you statutory redundancy, no matter how unlawful, if they are in a poor financial position they may cease to exist whether in their current form or any future form via administration in the time it takes you to see them at a tribunal.

You have full employee rights given your continuous service.

I would suggest if you have any of this in writing, that you immediately report them to HMRC for non payment. You can also tell them you have gone to local news outlets as this may force their hand. I’ve seen this happen very recently with a large brand and they paid up quite quickly.

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21 hours ago, EpicSquats said:

Why would you want to contact your old clients? What industry do you work in?

One reason would be, He could set up on his own or start for another firm and take the clients with him, taking business of his old employer 

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On 8/9/2020 at 9:09 PM, Sasnak said:

@AncientOldBloke might be able to help if he has time.

Sorry no.  Employment law isnt my thing. Unfortunately I act for those who purposely self-ignite, then Phoenix  ie what @Bensif said "they may cease to exist whether in their current form or any future form via administration in the time it takes you to see them at a tribunal." Means they can't sue or be sued.

 

@MFM here's my non-lawyer answer:

Push some buttons on a calculator.

Option 1: Sign it under duress. How much do you get? How much to set up to  compete against them? How long to replace your current income? What's the likelihood of them shutting down (their submitted CT600 accounts are public )?

Then you decide scientifically and dispassionately whether to sign, then flick the first domino.

Beware, this thing of defending the potential future CCJ with "but they made me sign under duress" may not work as you won't have clean hands. The DJ will think you're BOTH opportunists then decide according to his mood or tiredness because there's no law here. Generally you'd win under what I call The David v Goliath custom ( ie cos you're smaller).

 

Option 2:  To not sign and then instead sue them at Employment Tribunal. NOT  a county court. Be fully informed of the company's financial strength and liabilities first though. Use ACAS cos they're fee free.

 

So you can see, in either situation, info about your enemy as well as  guesstimation of your own as yet unknown business variables are paramount.

This is the time for cold hearted calculations not emotion. As the months wear on, you'll find what you said "Plus, I'm not going to give those c*nts the satisfaction of doing me in any further if I can help it" of less and less importance. 

 

(Having said all that, WTF do I know? I sell curry to DrunkenDave and TitsOutTrace at 2am)

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Oh! Forgot to say, SOME people have been known to "reverse phoenix" or "exposed check"

SOME people might sign it, take the money then go work for a newly formed company that they do not own or control, the director of which does not  share your surname, nor live at your address. That way SOME people would be a mere payslip employee, not a decision making person with significant control.

Where the new company's start up capital and initial client bank came from, nobody knows. How a crack ho hooker became a  100% shareholder and sole Director nobody knows.

 

Once again, WTF do I know?  I sell kebabs  at 3am outside a night club.

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Dumper: Due to changing needs,  I wish to terminate our association. Take this and sign that. I got a lot on mind and hope we part fast and clean.

Dumpee's Option 1:
I ain't movin aht and I ain't signin s**t

Dumpee's Option 2:
OK, accepted as you wish. We need to sign some admin stuff then I'll be gone.

Dumpee signs, then says 'all the best', then leaves. Unknown to the Dumper, the Dumpee takes the cage, bar and plates from the house.

4-5 months later and with some hard work, Dumpee bounces back bigger, harder stronger with a younger, fitter, hotter vehicle.

Whether or not Dumper is still around and wants Dumpee back, Dumpee is still better off cos he's bigger, harder stronger with a younger, fitter, hotter vehicle. Dumpee is in a position of strength, choice and options, certainly in a better position than the Dumper.

 

But then WTF do I know, I sell Class A's at 3.30pm outside primary schools.

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On 09/08/2020 at 10:17 PM, jake87 said:

If its statutory redundancy, its compulsory to pay, not discretionary. If its enhanced then there are a lot factors that play into it

The restricted covenant, if you breach it, technically they could sue but would they invest time and money to do that? They could contact your next employer but if you gave your side of the story, the likely hood it affecting your next employment is slim 

 

why would they not sue, they likely have lawyers so a small drop to prove a point to the rest of the work force. 

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5 hours ago, todai said:

why would they not sue, they likely have lawyers so a small drop to prove a point to the rest of the work force. 

You would think so but many firms believe the legal fees and hours of time outweigh the cost. It all depends how far up the ladder the person is also 

Redundancies are a big thing. For example my partners firm would sooner pay someone off that has been absolutely s**t at their job than to deal with the legal costs and all the admin that goes with it. 

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They have caved in and decided to pay me without signing. I have 17 years exposure of their unethical and dishonest practices, and they know I can put them in the ground, which I have threatened them with. 

It was a bit of a stand off and I was nearly ready to sign, but they clearly didn't have the nerve. 

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3 minutes ago, MFM said:

They have caved in and decided to pay me without signing. I have 17 years exposure of their unethical and dishonest practices, and they know I can put them in the ground, which I have threatened them with. 

It was a bit of a stand off and I was nearly ready to sign, but they clearly didn't have the nerve. 

Well done mate!

 

:thumb

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1 hour ago, MFM said:

They have caved in and decided to pay me without signing. I have 17 years exposure of their unethical and dishonest practices, and they know I can put them in the ground, which I have threatened them with. 

It was a bit of a stand off and I was nearly ready to sign, but they clearly didn't have the nerve. 

Well done, now good luck too you :beer:

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