A senior employee leaving can often be disruptive to your business, causing you to lose out on their skills and knowledge and also knocking your client relationships slightly off balance. If the departing employee chooses to set up or join a competing business, the risks can potentially be even more damaging. Below are the necessary clauses and documents we believe employers should implement to protect their business when a top level employee chooses to move on.
Introduce a confidentiality agreement
A confidentiality agreement can help to put a stop to an employee using or sharing your client/product information, strategic plans, trade secrets or any other confidential information. This should outline what counts as confidential information and what employees can and cannot do with it during their employment and a period of time following the termination of their contract.
Set up a social media policy
Social media gives employees an opportunity to connect with contacts, clients and colleagues, and build relationships without an employer ever becoming aware. A social media policy that clearly states how they can use social media sites while at work and following the termination of their contract can help prevent employees from transporting their client relationships or contacts to a new employer or to their new business.
Review notice periods for senior staff members
Rather than having one contract of employment for all staff members, creating a detailed contract for senior employees can help you to mitigate the impact their departure has on your workplace. Include an extended notice period for these staff members, giving you the opportunity to recruit a suitable professional in time so that your business doesn’t suffer from a loss of skills or knowledge. Also, if appropriate, make sure the contracts give you the right to make staff work from home during their notice period, helping to minimise their contact with employees, clients and confidential information.
These are typically given to senior or highly skilled staff members at the end of the employment relationship. They can help you to protect your business interests by preventing a departing employee from competing with you or soliciting your customers for a certain period of time after the end of the employment relationship, so that their departure doesn’t harm your business.
It is important to remember that you cannot include restrictive covenants simply to quash competition. In order for restrictive covenants to be enforceable and legally compliant, they must be reasonable, protect a legitimate business interest and be for an appropriate period of time.
Is it time to review your policies and procedures?
Our employment law department has plenty of experience in reviewing and updating policies, procedures and contracts of employment for all types of businesses, helping to make sure that they have the legal protection needed to prevent or mitigate any problems.
If you would like information on how we can help you to safeguard your business interests when senior employers depart, feel free to contact us on 0844 984 6444 for an initial consultation.Find out more about our Employment for business department