In the case of Tenon FM Limited v Cawley, the employer tried to enforce post-termination restrictions on an employee who wanted to join a competitor and also persuaded a colleague to do the same.
Unfortunately, the employer was unable to produce a signed copy of the contract of employment and so it was relying on an unsigned copy to enforce the restrictions.
Although it is generally the case that an unsigned contract of employment is often the best evidence of the terms agreed between an employer and employee when a signed copy cannot be found, this is not the case when a dispute relates to restrictive covenants. In this situation, an unsigned contract could mean that any restrictions will not be enforced by the courts.
This case serves as a stark reminder to employers of the importance of good record-keeping and ensuring that contracts of employment, and any subsequent variations, are properly documented and signed by all parties.
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