Contracts of employment

Whether no-show clause was an unlawful penalty

The employer brought a claim for liquidated damages for breach of contract against a prospective employee who changed his mind after accepting an offer of employment. The claim was based on a clause in the contract which required him to pay an amount equivalent to half his net basic salary and half his signing payment if he did not start work.

Tullett Prebon Group Ltd v Ghaleb El-Hajjali

Injunction to restrain use of contacts in Outlook

Staff frequently keep a list of their contacts on their employer’s computer system. These may include contacts they made before they started working for their employer. But what happens when the employee leaves? Can he or she take this list with them or do they belong to the employer?

Penwell Publishing (UK) Ltd v Isles

E-mail was evidence of contractual right to bonus

An object lesson in how not to go about agreeing a bonus with staff. K’s employer, in view of his importance to the business, negotiated a special bonus arrangement for him. The terms of the bonus were discussed at several meetings but nothing was written down.

Khan v Dunlop Haywards (DHL) Ltd

Entitlement to sick pay while in dispute with employer

K had raised harassment claims and was off sick with work-related stress. She failed to provide a sick note beyond a certain date, saying that her absence was employment-related, not medical.

British Library v Kaur

Calculation of sick pay based on actual hours worked not contractual minimum

This case highlights the importance of sick pay policies specifying a method for calculating any payments made under them. B’s contract provided for her to work a guaranteed minimum of 15 hours per week with provision for her to work in excess of such hours as agreed with her manager. In fact she worked over 30 hours each week.

Beattie v Age Concern

Employer’s power to insist on a period of garden leave

Wanting to join a competitor, B and another director resigned giving 3 months' notice. Their employer then discovered evidence of attempts to take away confidential information. It asked them to remain at home (in effect on gardening leave) to delay the date when they could join the competitor and sought an injunction to enforce this.

SG&R Valuation Service v Boudrais

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