Potentionally being sued for breach of contract - leaving before notice period ends
Hi, I resigned from my last employment and advised that 1 would be giving 6 weeks notice instead of the 12 weeks notice in my contract. My boss did not speak to me at all during the 6 week period other than by email to threaten action if i did not work notice period. He got HR to negotiate with me and when that failed he asked the FD to speak with me. I left work as I needed to start my new job as promised and despite me sending my old boss a letter explaining why I had made the decision to leave early (protecting my financial situation as was in Automotive industry and had been pressured into accepting salary reduction etc) boss is now threatening to take action.
I accept that he has the right to claim for costs of temp etc but is there a limit as what is reasonable? Can he employ someone on £800 a day and claim that? What can I expect? I assume that they could get a CCJ against me, is that the maximum that can happen?
Any help would be appreciated.
They can claim any quantifibale costs that they incur as a result of your breach of contract. If successful you will have a CCJ, and if you refuse to pay, the order can be enforced by bailiffs. Quantifiable costs can include the costs of employing someone to do your job for the remainder of the notice period, legal fees, solicitors bills etc.
Thanks for the info. Yes they can enforce by bailiffs providing they get entry peacefully on at least one occassion. They cannot break in without frst gaining peaceful entry (either invited in or through open door or window.
We will see if they go that far, They have responded to my letter but have ignored 5 of the 8 points I raised so I will argue that by not questioning these that they accept them and see where that gets me.
Hmm - I just realised that I forgot to mention something. Like the above situation, it does not happne very often, but it can. They could sue your new employer for inducing you to breach your contract. That might well be worse - the new employer is not likley to be at all happy with you and you have no protection against dismissal. It has happened once before on this site. To be honest it is very rare, but it can and does happen if an employer is really pissed off. In the case I mentioned, the person was sued individually for brech of contract and the employer threatened the new company with being sued, who promptly withdrew their offer, leaving the guy with a court order and no job. I'm afraid that in neither case is there, in law, a reasonable explanation. Breach of contract is judged purely on whether you did it or not, not whether you wanted to start a new job sooner etc. It's quite possible that they won't take it any further, or realise that they can sue the employer too, but I should mention it.
Oh, and if you refuse to pay the court can order an attachment of earnings - and if you refuse they can imprison you for up to 14 days. If it does come to a court case, my advice would be to settle before it goes to court. You wouldn't win at court, and you could end up with it costing you a lot more in long term costs.
Just to add one possible glimmer of hope - the employer has to prove the damages were an actual extra nett cost over and above the costs of employing you for full contractual notice, and the employer has a duty to mitigate the level of any losses - they can't be losing a Ford Fiesta yet seeking to reclaim cost of a Ferrari to replace instead [metaphorically / in theory !!].
Thanks for the heads up, I was aware that the damages would be nett of what they would have paid me. They are only "considering" action and I am working on the FD (who agrees that it is probably a waste of resource to take action) who is a friend and he is trying to get the General Manager to calm down etc.
Will see how it pans out but thanks for your help it is appreciated.