VIC Sent a Breach of Employment Contract by Previous Employer?

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by cgtandy5, 30 March 2017.

  1. cgtandy5

    cgtandy5 Member

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    I have been recently been sent a 'breach of employment contract' letter from by my previous employer stating that I have breached specific terms/covenants of my employment contract.

    I am a physiotherapist and was working in private practice last year full time. My employment changed from a full time capacity role to part-time role and a change in pay schedule occurred due to me accepting a position with a sporting team. My private practice was adamant I stay on in a part time capacity to ensure patients would still be seen. Due to this, I requested a change in employment contract- stating the changes.

    Prior to this change I was looking to resign my position regardless due to the inability of my workplace to make pays on time and a failure to pay superannuation-as stipulated on my employment contract.

    Despite my requests, a new employment contract was not provided to me outlining changes and hence why I resigned 2 months later. Since resigning, I have commenced my full time employment with a sporting team. I have also started my own consulting 1 day per week out of a lease office under my own business name. This room is approximately 5.5km away from my old place of practice.

    My previous employer caught wind that I had been seeing patients that I had previously consulted with and hence have sent be a breach of contract letter.

    Are they able to defend their stance on my old employment contract given my change in position prior to resigning?

    Given the my business is only open 1 day weekly compared to there's full time 6 days a week and given the patients I am seeing that were previously theirs makes up 20% of my business, would this be deemed 'reasonable' as a loss to there business to which they could claim damages?

    Thanks,
     
  2. Lance

    Lance Well-Known Member

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    Hi,
    It sounds like they had a restraint clause in your extant contract prohibiting you from taking a role within a given radius of the old office. If your employment details changed like you said and they didn't update the contract you could have an out there, but they may have justification if you are poaching old clients. I would honestly speak with a lawyer skilled in employment law just to make sure. Restraint clauses are difficult to enforce and it sounds like there was a definite change in contract, be it verbal that could possible make the clause not hold up. You can find a lawyer in your area at: https://lawtap.com/au/
     
  3. Rod

    Rod Lawyer
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    Taking clients with you may be an issue. Getting new clients will likely not be an issue.

    You may be seen to have financially hurt your old employer using their information (client list) to benefit yourself. Your liability may depend on how these clients 'went with you'.

    Did the letter list the amount of damages being claimed?
     
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  4. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer
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    Were you an actual PAYG employee?
     
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