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NSW Employment Law - Is This a Breach of Employment Contract?

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by Michelle26, 10 February 2016.

  1. Michelle26

    Michelle26 Member

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    Hi, I am a hairdresser and when I started working with my current employer, I signed an employment contract stating that if I left, I would not work within 500 m of the salon for a certain period of time. The owner, however, has now decided to close down and not re-open under the same name elsewhere.

    As per a verbal conversation with him, I was told the salon was to shut at the beginning of March and that due to him closing down, the employment contract details were void. Now, however, he is closing at the end of March instead and is trying to stop me from working in the centre prior to the shop closing.

    Can he hold me to the employment contract under Employment Law if he is the one closing and I was told the employment contract terms were now void?

    Thank you so much.
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Depends on whether the contract was terminated according to its terms, or whether he is breaching the contract.

    If he is breaching the contract, then you do not have to held to any of its future terms. FYI, this is not 'voiding' the contract but is a different legal principle.
     
  3. Michelle26

    Michelle26 Member

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    Thank you so much.

    Yes, he is the one terminating the contract but it seems quite vague to me. This is what it says in the contract about termination of employment:

    "Non-compete agreement
    at all times during the employee's employment and for a period of 8 months after termination for any reason including discharge or resignation regardless of whether termination is voluntary or involuntary on employees part. employee agrees not to work in a similar industry with 500 m radius."

    When he notified me, he was closing the closing date was beginning of march, and that if we left prior he wanted 1 week notice, he also verbally told me that the conditions of the contract were terminated and I was "free to work where ever I wanted as well as inform my clientele and take them with me" so found another job, now however he has decided to close end of march, and is now stating that until then the contract is valid. but after that, I am free to do as I like.

    He has admitted he miscommunicated what he meant in terms of contract validity. However I fail to see how that's my problem, I complied with what I was told and gave him more than 1 weeks notice, as per his request.

    I'm meeting with him tomorrow and would love to have some information about how valid this contract is under this situation, so I know how to proceed with this meeting.
     
  4. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    He 'cancelled the contract', you accepted. Done deal.

    He has then tried to reinstate the contract, you declined = no contract/no reinstatement.

    There might be some difficulty for you if the initial contract is in writing, and the 'cancellation' was verbal. Proving conversations can be difficult however your actions, and his, would seem to back up the fact he cancelled the contract. You'll know this better than me as you've had the conversations/emails/SMS.

    Always good to keep the conversation friendly. Can be friendly and firm :)
     
  5. Michelle26

    Michelle26 Member

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    Thanks, that was my impression. The original contract was in writing and the cancellation of it was verbal, however, he has admitted via text, that he did not make it clear that he meant that the contract was to be cancelled only when the business shuts. But the way I see it, it's not really my problem, that he wasn't clear.
     

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