Going to work for a competitor.

(13 Posts)
anxiousworld Sat 09-Sep-17 15:51:37

I got fired last week from my job, I'd been there for 16 months and it was an unfair dismissal, however, I didn't appeal it because I didn't want to go back there after how badly they'd treated me.

I was at home, depressed, I wasn't worried about getting a new job, I had 2 interviews lined up and one of them seemed promising.

It was Monday when I got a call from a guy I used to work with at my old place, he asked if I'd left too, I said yeah, he said ok, I want you to meet someone, can you come to xxxx at 3 today? So I said yes, and I went.

Here's the thing. Exact same industry, different company, direct competition to my last place. They offered me the job on the spot, they thought I could take their brand forward, which of course I can.

However, it's in my contract that I can't work for a competitor for the next 12 months, nor can I work in the industry within 10 miles of my last employer forever. Which is daft, because this town is the central hub for this kind of business and where most of their competitors work.

Anyhow, I accepted the offer as they told me if my previous employer tried to sue me, they'd defend me and pay the legal fees... so that took the worry out of my mind. And I'm on 7k more here. I started the next day.

My last employer owe's me my 4 weeks pay in lieu and my untaken holiday. Can they withhold this from me if they discover I'm working for a competitor? Which of course they will find out because we're going to be at the same event in 2 weeks time and I'm due to be paid on the 29th. They owe me almost 2.7k after tax.

I'm just worried that they'll take this money and not pay me. Can they do that? Break the contract? Since I already broke it?

I know people are going to be funny about this, as people have been, but I was fired. They clearly aren't worried about me doing anything great for any other company since they said I was crap at my job.

OP’s posts: |
anxiousworld Sat 09-Sep-17 15:52:50

My previous contract, I must add, is the one that says I can't work for a competitor.

OP’s posts: |
Tottyandmarchpane1 Sat 09-Sep-17 15:57:41

Does the clause say you cannot work for a competitor if you are terminated from your role i.e. Does it specifically state that? As I understand it the courts are less
Likely to enforce a non compete if the company terminated your employment and very unlikely if it's unfair dismissal. May depend on the industry though / can you share that?

GahBuggerit Sat 09-Sep-17 16:01:26

No they can't withhold pay that's owed to you. They might try it on though.

I wouldn't worry too much about the restrictive covenant, especially as it sounds unrealistic, they are effectively stopping you from working in your field and it's quite rare that they actually stand up in court. Just dont be doing anything daft like taking contact details of clients with you. Start from scratch in your new company.

Shakey15000 Sat 09-Sep-17 16:02:46

I would also get it in writing that new employer agrees to fund if you're sued etc

anxiousworld Sat 09-Sep-17 17:06:39

I have it in writing that they'll defend me/pay because they're confident it wouldn't stand up in court.

OP’s posts: |
anxiousworld Sat 09-Sep-17 17:12:03

I work in Marketing for an e-liquid company now and did before. Before this I didn't work in this industry (i.e. Eliquid) I've always worked in Marketing though. Marketing is terrible pay but incredibly competitive in the eliquid field, so there's other jobs available but between 16-18k. I'm on 27 now, so for the courts to turn around and say fuck you, you can't work there, I'd be losing a lot of money, especialt since I deserve it, I've worked hard for the status I now have in the industry, as a lot of people know who I am and what I achieved for my last company.

I haven't taken contact details, but as I know everyone already, we're utilising the same people to work for us, that doesn't take away from them working with the last company, but has been a bit of a pain since people believe I was disloyal to the last company, because they don't know I was fired.

And no I didn't sign a non compete and yes it does say in my contract I can't work for another company in he industry for 12 months after my termination date.

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AlphaStation Sat 09-Sep-17 17:15:54

I walked out of a job interview once, just seconds prior to signing on a contract, when I spotted such a clause in the contract. For me, it was a total deal-breaker. Actually, it was also to pay them like £50,000 if I at any time in the future were to work in their current, or any of their future, industries. (!)

I don't suppose it's possible to have an agreement with your previous employer that supersedes that former contract in that particular regard? Is the clause valid or is it considered invalid because it is deemed undue? I don't know, and I'd guess that the only way to find out is to check with a solicitor.

GinandGingerBeer Sat 09-Sep-17 18:42:12

Even if it went to court, they can't 'turn around and say fuck you you can't work there' it doesn't work like that!
They can't stop you, they can try and sue you though but I very much doubt having dismissed you that they would bother.

Tottyandmarchpane1 Sat 09-Sep-17 21:21:55

I would not be worried about it. Not worth their time unless you are going to significantly damage their revenue in any future actions involving old clients etc. Doesn't sound like you are so I should go ahead and stop worrying!

anxiousworld Sat 09-Sep-17 23:20:31

Thanks for the comments. I'm happier now. I do have a tendency to worry hence the anxiety disorder haha.

The only issue is, no other eliquid brand were doing what we were doing, they could have easily spied on us and replicated it but they didn't.

We always put the customers first and invested a lot of time in to them and effort which other companies didn't do, it was clear to see online as the presence was very different.

People have figured out I work there just from the posts being made and the customer interaction, which I'm not worried about, I'm proud and not ashamed of where I work now. Just don't fancy getting sued but the guy I also moved here with isn't worried and he has more to lose so I guess I'll be okay.

OP’s posts: |
daisychain01 Sun 10-Sep-17 07:41:50

anxious it would be quite reasonable to ask your new employer to give you behind the scenes work to support their public event in 2 weeks' time but not to expect you on the front line. Tell them you have grave concerns your former employer will be at the event and it will potentially expose the company (your new employer) to an uncomfortable and possibly damaging situation that is best avoided.

You want to get into your new role and not become a distraction.

Sub-text is you don't want to cause a shitstorm, you need to stay under the radar and not rub your former employer's nose in the fact you've gone to a competitor. Bide your time and get your feet under the desk in your new role.

They will see you as being professional and politically savvy.

eternalopt Sun 10-Sep-17 08:15:24

Google "restrictive covenants enforceable" and you'll find loads of advice, like this page, which includes "For example, an employment contract that imposes a blanket ban on a person working for a direct competitor, even for a short period of time, is unlikely to be enforced"


Restrictive covenants have to be reasonable and necessary to protect business interests, not just a restraints of trade. One that lasts forever, even if within a 10 mile radius, is doomed to fail.

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