A High Court judge’s decision has sent a fresh warning to employers high-lighting the importance of ensuring all employees sign their contracts of employment.

In the case in question the employee had worked for the employer for 10 years, gaining a number of promotions before being appointed Operations Director, the role she held when she resigned.  

The employer alleged that the employee had attempted to persuade a former colleague to join her new employer, prompting the employer to seek an interim High Court injunction to enforce the post termination restrictions against her contained within her contract of employment.

However, The High Court rejected the employer’s claims and denied the injunction, on the basis that the employer had been unable to provide a signed copy of the employee’s contract of employment, despite the employer asking the judge to consider the length of the employee’s employment as implied acceptance of the contract of employment.

This case certainly reminds employers of the importance of ensuring that employment contracts are produced and a signed copy is retained on file to show what was actually agreed, as this case has proved that to rely on implied acceptance can be fatal, especially if the employer is seeking to rely on restrictive covenants, confidentiality and the like.