Anyone in HR?

indianwells

Well-known Member
Ok, so a friend of mine has worked at a small company (about 6 employees) for about 3 years. They source components globally and then resell with a margin. He found he was really good at it and generated really good profits. Their turnover is well over a million and their net profit before tax is around 250k. He is their top performer but they refuse to increase his salary (15k).
He decided to set up his own company about 6 weeks ago and in his own time has done a lot of quotes and things are looking quite favourable. I should point out that he has been meticulous in only contacting new clients and bidding on new contracts. At no point has he contacted existing clients of the company or done anything in his works time.
His boss was browsing through LinkedIn and came across his Director profile. He went in to work this morning and was instantly dismissed for gross misconduct. Has he any recourse? I would appreciate any feedback from a legal point of view and prefer to leave out opinions on whether you think he did anything morally underhand. As always I think it may depend on his contract (which I haven't seen) but at no point has he received any verbal or written warnings.

Edit; Last week he asked to be either furloughed or work from home as he lives with his Nan and she has been told to shield as a vulnerable person with underlying conditions. His boss refused and said he had to come in to the office. This goes totally against Welsh Govs advice for employers and seems pretty callous to me?
 
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blue max

Distinguished Member
Was he in sales? Surprised there wasn't any bonus scheme in place. Anyway, it's not a huge amount to lose and seems he may be successful in his own right.
I don't think gross misconduct needs any warnings. Sounds like his contract would forbid him working elsewhere. Sounds an awful place to work and I wish him every success in his new venture.
 

rousetafarian

Moderator
The contract detail holds all of the salient points, and would typically involve a !restrictive covenant’ clause or similar.

If I started my own gig as a competitor to my current employer I’d be hoofed.
 

koeman

Well-known Member
The working from home/furlough is irrelevant. Its for the company to decide whether its practical to work from home not the employee.

You're right tho, it really does depend on his contract. I know mine states that I cannot work in a similar area, on similar contracts for 3 months after leaving. It also says I cant have a 2nd job.

Breach of contact could be deemed as gross misconduct.

Check his contract
 

Desmo

Distinguished Member
Depends entirely on his contract but I'm not at all surprised that he's been sacked for setting up his own rival company whilst continuing to work there, regardless of how good he has been not contacting current customers.
 

rousetafarian

Moderator
Success, profitability and such is also irrelevant
 

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member
Becoming your own competitor sounds pretty dodgy.

As above the contract may or may not be explicit on the matter. In mine I am not forbidden from doing outside work, but it must be declared and approved up front.
 

IronGiant

Moderator
I can't comment on the right or wrong of it but I'd imagine that finding out he has his own company after asking to be furloughed made the boss add 2 and 2 and make 6 and assume the worst.
 

nvingo

Well-known Member
Might be the boss has shot himself in the foot; three/six months down the line many more clients could suddenly find a better deal.
 

Dony

Distinguished Member
An acquaintance of mine found out the hard way when he tried something similar. Following a number of anonymous threats his car was fire bombed at his front door. They never found out who was behind it but he closed his business the following day and the threats stopped.
 

koeman

Well-known Member
The more I think about it, if it was one of my employees I'd have fired them on the spot too. Its a complete conflict of interests.

Hes unlikely to get his job back, he could speak to acas but I suspect will no go anywhere. Could try a unfair dismissal tribunal but potentially left with lots of legal costs.
 

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member
As he's been there over two years he will have certain rights of recourse. Whether it's worth it is another matter.
 

nvingo

Well-known Member
...His boss was browsing through LinkedIn and came across his Director profile...
My issue is with this:
1. Is presence of a Linkedin profile sufficient reason for gross misconduct (it could say anything - might be fictitious)?
2. Was creating the Linkedin profile - with his own details - wise in the circumstances?
3. The boss should be working harder at his business, not spending time searching up his employees in LinkedIn (unless he had founded suspicions).
 

indianwells

Well-known Member
Thanks for the replies. You are right, they had it in his contract that if he was going to do similar work he had to approach them for permission. He is relaxed about it though as he can now contact all their contacts and offer better prices.
 

ashenfie

Well-known Member
He has committed gross misconduct and yes he can be fired for what he is doing. I think contacting their customer would result in him being taken to court.
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
Was creating the Linkedin profile - with his own details - wise in the circumstances?
Not so much unwise as plain daft, especially declaring himself a director.
The boss should be working harder at his business, not spending time searching up his employees in LinkedIn (unless he had founded suspicions).
Could well be LinkedIn "helpfully" suggesting a new director in the area to the boss.
 

koeman

Well-known Member
Thanks for the replies. You are right, they had it in his contract that if he was going to do similar work he had to approach them for permission. He is relaxed about it though as he can now contact all their contacts and offer better prices.
Id be careful about doing that also.
 

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member
The boss should be working harder at his business

A six person business with a £1m turnover - I guess he earned himself a coffee break.
 

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member
Taken to court for what if you don't mind me asking?

Breaching any non-compete clauses in his contract. I don't work in sales, but if I 'poach' any current members of staff within six months of leaving, I will be sued. Similar will likely apply to external customer no doubt.
 

indianwells

Well-known Member
Breaching any non-compete clauses in his contract. I don't work in sales, but if I 'poach' any current members of staff within six months of leaving, I will be sued. Similar will likely apply to external customer no doubt.
He has no intention of poaching any current members of staff, he will be doing it all himself. The clients are all over the world so i'm not sure how offering them better prices makes any difference when he is working for himself. To use your username, I might be wrong!:lesson:
 

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member
He has no intention of poaching any current members of staff, he will be doing it all himself. The clients are all over the world so i'm not sure how offering them better prices makes any difference when he is working for himself. To use your username, I might be wrong!:lesson:

No I was just giving an example of something similar I could be taken to court for.

For him it would be poaching customers of his firm, especially if they were his directly.
 

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member
he can now contact all their contacts and offer better prices.

To be clear in my opinion (and I think most would agree) this would very likely end up with legal action being taken and is simply not worth doing. His contract will probably state this along with a no-contact time period of 3/6/12 months or more.
 

SteveCritten

Distinguished Member
You can be sacked for gross misconduct without any warnings, the contention is if it is or not. Sounds like his old boss was a bit stingy anyway so just move on.
 

indianwells

Well-known Member
You can be sacked for gross misconduct without any warnings, the contention is if it is or not. Sounds like his old boss was a bit stingy anyway so just move on.
You are right, he was a bit nervous today and he's quite young (21) so I told him he's better off out of there. He worked there for over 3 years but he's pretty switched on and I said to him most successful people strike out on their own and take a risk (think Branson & Sugar). He'll be fine I reckon, he knows the business inside out. Good lad as well, old head on young shoulders.
 

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