The end of the road..?
All good things come to an end, and team-members may choose to move on for any number of reasons. Usually, everything goes smoothly, but there can be issues – do any of these sound familiar?
- A vet who intends to set up in competition just down the road
- An employee with a large outstanding bill
- A vet who has just gained a certificate paid for by the practice
- A disgruntled receptionist who decides to vent on social media
- Someone who has an immediate offer of a job and doesn’t intend to work out their notice
- A nurse who has taken almost all of her annual leave, but it’s only August
What can you do?
As ever in employment law, there are few simple, definitive answers.
Much depends on what is written in your contracts of employment and handbook. For straightforward financial issues, such as the unpaid account and the CPD, a simple clause allowing you make deductions from salary for outstanding bills or for recovery of CPD costs can be the solution. (You could also decide to have a separate recovery of training costs agreement in place when funding high value courses). Similarly, you may be able to make deductions from salary for holiday taken in excess of what’s been accrued, or to provide cover for someone who fails to work out their notice, as long as this is stated in the contract.
Disparaging comments on social media can be trickier to handle. Sometimes a ‘cease and desist’ letter may be enough, with a threat of further legal action if the individual continues. Again, it helps if the contract of employment covers these situations.
Clients frequently ask us about restrictive covenants – how long should they be for, what distance and, ultimately, how can they enforce them? This is probably the trickiest of the situations, as the courts will always start from the assumption that restrictive covenants are not valid. It’s up to you to show that they’re needed to prevent unfair competition (not just any competition). The greater the restriction (in geography or time), the harder it is to justify. Unfortunately, there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer, each case would be judged on its merits, and you would need specific legal advice.
What is simple, is that unless you get the contract signedand returned, you won’t be in a position to enforce anything!
Please note, the information in this article is for general guidance only, and is not a substitute for specific legal advice on any issue.