Like staff handbooks
, many firms make contracts too complicated, meaning employees and even managers skim read them or don't understand the full impact. This results in unnecessary dispute, which could be avoided by using clear terms in plain English.
The wording of your contracts is very important and could leave your company open to financial loss if they haven’t been professionally prepared by an Employment Law specialist. Each year we deal with legal challenges to contracts of employment that could have been avoided with professional help.
For example, many contracts contain restrictive covenants to prevent former employees using information or connections they gained at your business to benefit your competitors. However, a tribunal may refuse to uphold restrictive covenants that are poorly drafted, ambiguous or unreasonably restrictive. In the 2018 High Court case Freshasia Foods Ltd v Jing Lu, a company claimed they had lost around £200,000 worth of business when one of their employees left them to work for a competitor. The business tried to enforce a covenant intended to prevent the former employee from poaching customers, but the court found that the covenant was unreasonably restrictive. Only the reasonable elements of the clause could be upheld, but the court had to consider whether the restrictive covenant would make sense with the overly restrictive parts removed (severance). How well the clause was drafted was central to success or failure of the claim.