Our market-leading team has decades of experience in advising companies, LLPs, partnerships and senior executives in pursuing and defending complex and high value employment claims in the Employment Tribunal, High Court, appeal courts, and in arbitration. We offer a results-oriented and rapid-response service to businesses dealing with competitive threats.
Our employment litigation group is led by partners Toni Lorenzo and Michael Anderson who are widely recognised as leaders in the field of disputes involving unlawful competition, team moves, the protection of confidential information and post-termination restrictive covenants. The team is experienced in working on high profile cases carrying reputational risk, many of which are resolved before reaching a public hearing.
When competitive disputes arise, we take a robust and pragmatic approach. We can advise businesses on the best strategy to minimise the threat of executives leaving to compete (individually or in a team), including taking urgent court action where necessary. We also advise individuals considering competition, as well as their new employers, in strategies for minimising the risk of defending litigation. Our work covers:
- advising executives on strategies before joining a competitor and businesses on contentious hiring;
- obtaining, resisting or enforcing various types of injunctions, including acting in the leading reported case on springboard injunctions;
- advising on notice periods and garden leave;
- claims involving breaches of restrictive covenants and fiduciary duties;
- advising individuals and businesses (including recruitment agencies involved in placing candidates) on team moves; and
- claims involving the protection of confidential information and trade secrets.
We also work with employers, employees, partnerships and members to negotiate exit packages and deal with any disputes that arise on termination. We have extensive experience in bringing and defending bonus and other contract claims in the Employment Tribunal, High Court and in arbitration. These disputes regularly involve related issues around leaver provisions, constructive dismissal, wrongful dismissal, whistleblowing and discrimination.
Recent reported cases
- Alesco Risk Management and others v Bishopsgate and others  EWHC 2839 (QB) – successfully defending a number of insurance brokerage firms in a high-profile case involving an alleged team move and claims of conspiracy. The Defendants were awarded £3.1 million in costs. You can read the full judgment here.
- Chess Limited & Anor v Henderson  7 WLUK 69 – obtaining an interim High Court injunction in favour of an ICT solutions technology company against former employees to protect confidential information and preserve evidence pending trial
- Forse and others v Secarma Ltd and others  EWCA Civ 215 – acting for a cybersecurity technology company in the Court of Appeal in resisting a challenge to the appropriateness of a High Court springboard injunction (now the leading case on springboard injunctions)
- Wass v Boots and others (2018) – acting in a claim for declaratory relief against a high street retailer in relation to the enforceability of restrictive covenants
- DDB UK v Lovell and another (2018) – acting for an advertising agency to enforce restrictive covenants against a departing employee setting up in competition
- Alvarez & Marsal v FTI Consulting (2018) – acting for a professional services consultancy firm seeking declaratory relief in relation to a competitor’s restrictive covenants
- AstraZeneca v Miels (2017) – acting for a large pharmaceutical company in respect of its enforcement of garden leave provisions against the leader of its European business seeking to join a competitor
Government consultation underway on reform of non-compete clauses10 December 2020
The government recently launched a consultation on reforming the law concerning post-termination non-compete clauses in employment contracts. Its proposals include making such terms enforceable only if the employer pays the individual for the period of restriction, or, alternatively, prohibiting the use of such clauses altogether.
Insolvency issues for directors09 December 2020
All directors owe duties to their companies. However, once a director knows or should know the company is (or is likely to become) insolvent, creditors' interests become paramount. In practical terms, this means that the nature of directors’ duties undergoes a significant shift when insolvency threatens.
Recruiters’ legal obligations when workers switch occupations: Carla Feakins writes for People Management18 September 2020
Covid-19 has driven rapid changes in the jobs market, with some roles now in extremely high demand while others are almost disappearing. Recently published data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) highlights that between January and June 2020 more workers changed occupation than during the same period last year, with over half simultaneously moving into a different major industry.
New legal risks for recruiters: Carla Feakins writes for People Management08 September 2020
While the recruitment industry is subject to general legal regulation, additional legislation applies in some sectors such as agriculture, food processing and the care sector. This may require recruiters to be licensed and subject to a rigorous compliance regime.
Setting up a competing business03 September 2020
Many owner-managers and entrepreneurs plan to start new businesses in the same space as their current one. Managing this transition effectively is often the key to success in the new business and getting it wrong can result in the new business failing before it has even started.
Restrictive covenants in the recruitment industry25 August 2020
Restrictive covenants, also known as post-termination restraints (“PTRs”), are widely used throughout the recruitment industry to protect businesses from the impact of employees leaving to set up or join a competing business.