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Breach of contract claims.
An employer could consider bringing a claim for breach of contract in the County Court. However if the loss to the employer is significant, then the claim could be brought before the High Court. Although I always advise on this potential step, it is rarely elected by my employer clients. This is because the burden of proof will be on the employer to prove it suffered a loss as a result of the employee leaving their employment early.
Having said that, I have seen scenarios where a claim for breach of contract has succeeded, such as cases where the employee is a key person to a project and a temporary person will need to be employed to complete any such project.
In cases such as this, the damages would be calculated based on the cost of hiring the temporary worker to complete the given project. The Employment Tribunal is not a suitable setting for such a claim, save as to counterclaim against an employee who is bringing a contract claim in the Tribunal themselves.
What is the statutory minimum?
Employees with over one month but less than two years’ employment are legally entitled to one week’s notice from their employer. For those that go over the two-year continuous employment mark, they will be entitled to one week’s notice for each year of employment they have completed, up to a maximum of 12 weeks.
Clients and employees often agree longer notice periods. However, without an employment contract spelling out what the agreement is, the common law will imply reasonable notice.
When dealing with resignations of senior employees and management, it is always worthwhile getting advice early. This is especially important if there is a risk that any particular employee will go to a competitor and start competing directly with your business. Britton and Time Solicitors are always on hand to provide advice and take employment-related enquiries.
Reasonable notice cannot be shorter than the statutory minimum.