Contracts and policies – cornerstone of the employment relationship: a case study

This case study illustrates how even small businesses can benefit from having contracts of employment and supporting policies that are specifically drafted with their business in mind. 

The challenge

In this particular case, we advised a small, but rapidly growing, local business who came to us initially because one of their key employees had recently left and had set up a competing business.

Background

This media company had grown from 2 directors to over 50 staff in just over 4 years. Whilst they were getting on and expanding their business, they didn’t give much thought to their very basic contract of employment as everything was going so well. One of their key employees then resigned and, after some digging around, our client discovered that this employee had registered a new company name and was preparing to compete with them.  Our client did not have any in-house HR support.

What needed to happen?

A look at their contracts showed that they contained no restrictive covenants and therefore, apart from reminding this ex-employee about his confidentiality duties, there was very little that could be done to put pressure on him. The company was now very concerned that they had found themselves exposed in this way and that they had not analysed their risk and were not properly protecting their business.

What did Menzies Law do?

Drawing on our wide experience of advising small growing businesses, our specialist employment lawyers drafted new and bespoke restrictive covenants to be inserted into all the company’s key employee contacts. Our advice was to go for restrictions that were perfectly pitched to protect the business and would stand up in court if challenged.

As it is not straightforward introducing new restrictive covenants to existing employees’ contacts, we also guided our client through the process of rolling out these new contractual clauses.

Our client also asked us to review their other existing staff employment contracts and related documents.  We found that their staff handbook was non-existent and so we created key staff policies for them (disciplinary, grievance, health and safety) which were again tailored to suit the size and structure of the business. As the majority of our client’s business comes from pitching to produce promotional films for much larger organisations, we also recommended that it would be appropriate for them to have other key policies, such as whistleblowing, IT and social media, bribery, modern slavery and data protection.

As part of our multi-disciplinary approach, we then arranged for our senior HR Consultant to advise them on the wider issues of protecting their business by ensuring their employees are happy and motivated.

Outcomes for our client

Our client now has robust restrictive covenants inserted into all key employee contracts of employment.  They also have appropriately drafted staff policies to support the key processes. Following work with our HR Consultant, they have also addressed key areas of employee engagement and motivation, which has helped with their recruitment and retention.

 

For more information on how Menzies Law can help your business in respect of trade unions or anything else, please contact:

Luke Menzies, Director

0117 325 0921