Our market-leading team has decades of experience in advising companies, LLPs, partnerships and senior executives in pursuing and defending complex and high value employment claims in the Employment Tribunal, High Court, appeal courts, and in arbitration. We offer a results-oriented and rapid-response service to businesses dealing with competitive threats.
Our employment litigation group is led by partners Toni Lorenzo and Michael Anderson who are widely recognised as leaders in the field of disputes involving unlawful competition, team moves, the protection of confidential information and post-termination restrictive covenants. The team is experienced in working on high profile cases carrying reputational risk, many of which are resolved before reaching a public hearing.
When competitive disputes arise, we take a robust and pragmatic approach. We can advise businesses on the best strategy to minimise the threat of executives leaving to compete (individually or in a team), including taking urgent court action where necessary. We also advise individuals considering competition, as well as their new employers, in strategies for minimising the risk of defending litigation. Our work covers:
- advising executives on strategies before joining a competitor and businesses on contentious hiring;
- obtaining, resisting or enforcing various types of injunctions, including acting in the leading reported case on springboard injunctions;
- advising on notice periods and garden leave;
- claims involving breaches of restrictive covenants and fiduciary duties;
- advising individuals and businesses (including recruitment agencies involved in placing candidates) on team moves; and
- claims involving the protection of confidential information and trade secrets.
We also work with employers, employees, partnerships and members to negotiate exit packages and deal with any disputes that arise on termination. We have extensive experience in bringing and defending bonus and other contract claims in the Employment Tribunal, High Court and in arbitration. These disputes regularly involve related issues around leaver provisions, constructive dismissal, wrongful dismissal, whistleblowing and discrimination.
Recent reported cases
- Alesco Risk Management and others v Bishopsgate and others  EWHC 2839 (QB) – successfully defending a number of insurance brokerage firms in a high-profile case involving an alleged team move and claims of conspiracy. The Defendants were awarded £3.1 million in costs. You can read the full judgment here.
- Chess Limited & Anor v Henderson  7 WLUK 69 – obtaining an interim High Court injunction in favour of an ICT solutions technology company against former employees to protect confidential information and preserve evidence pending trial
- Forse and others v Secarma Ltd and others  EWCA Civ 215 – acting for a cybersecurity technology company in the Court of Appeal in resisting a challenge to the appropriateness of a High Court springboard injunction (now the leading case on springboard injunctions)
- Wass v Boots and others (2018) – acting in a claim for declaratory relief against a high street retailer in relation to the enforceability of restrictive covenants
- DDB UK v Lovell and another (2018) – acting for an advertising agency to enforce restrictive covenants against a departing employee setting up in competition
- Alvarez & Marsal v FTI Consulting (2018) – acting for a professional services consultancy firm seeking declaratory relief in relation to a competitor’s restrictive covenants
- AstraZeneca v Miels (2017) – acting for a large pharmaceutical company in respect of its enforcement of garden leave provisions against the leader of its European business seeking to join a competitor
Employees could be caught by aggressive recruitment tactics: Roberta Pasemko and David Samuels comment for Executive Grapevine20 July 2020
While some businesses have announced mass redundancies and furloughed high numbers of staff, other employers have started to use this uncertain period as a time to pounce on top talent.
Employee competition in the time of remote working16 July 2020
For many employers recent priorities have focussed on the practicalities of transitioning their workforce to homeworking, taking advantage of the government’s furlough scheme, and making cost savings. Another important consideration is the need to protect businesses from unlawful employee competition during and in the period following the lockdown. We have seen a significant increase in this activity in recent weeks and this article sets out practical steps for employers to follow.
Employee Restrictive Covenants29 April 2020
For most employers, protecting their businesses against competitive threats is a vital concern. The departure of a key employee to join a competitor, or to set up a rival business of their own, can have extremely damaging consequences. The employer may lose clients, prospects, or other staff, and their valuable confidential information and strategic plans may be put at risk.
Important new case on disclosure, but has anyone noticed?29 April 2020
Given the dominance of the coronavirus over all aspects of life, including the law, it would be easy to miss the appearance of a new case about one of the basics of litigation.
Legal Professional Privilege Update22 April 2020
This guide is intended to provide a brief overview of legal professional privilege. It identifies some practical steps which will help to maintain privilege and concludes with a privilege “flowchart” and table of commonly used terms.
Insolvency issues for directors07 April 2020
All directors owe duties to their companies. When a company is solvent, those duties are paramount but once insolvency is pending, directors must act in the creditors best interests. That difference means that the nature of the directors’ duties undergoes a significant shift when insolvency threatens.