You know that as an employer you are required to give your employee notice unless they have committed an act of gross misconduct. If you don’t then you could face a claim for breach of contract. Notice can be worked, served out on garden leave or paid in lieu depending on the contractual terms. Unfortunately not all employees give the required length of notice or seek to leave immediately.
Employers are then left in a difficult situation, some are happy to save money and agree reduced notice but others may want that longer period especially when the employee is going to a competitor. So what can employers do?
They can sue for breach of contract if they suffer losses and in the case ofSunrise Brokers LLP v Rodgers  the employer went further. The employer sought an injunction requiring the employee to observe the terms of his contract until the termination date.
The High Court made a declaration that an employee who had purported to resign with immediate effect, in breach of contract, was still employed as his employer had not accepted his breach. The Court granted the injunction. The employee, who had not returned to work following his resignation, was not entitled to be paid during this time as he was not ready and willing to work. So in this case the employee could not start his new role but was paid nothing as he had failed to work.
Sarah J King Solicitor/Consultant
Posted on Friday, 22nd August 2014