Just been made redundant? Don’t forget …



If your employment has just ended,  not just for redundancy but for any reason, did you sign a compromise agreement? Perhaps you entered into a COT3 via ACAS to settle the dispute?

If you did there’s a good chance you will have signed up to a clause that says;

“You shall not at any time after the termination of your employment represent yourself as  being interested in or employed by or in any way connected with [name of ex-employer]”

Or something similar.  They are very common in properly drafted compromise agreements, as well as contracts of employment, and were probably first drafted to prevent any reputational damage or third party liabilities arising or being caused to the former employer by a disgruntled departee, or from claiming that they were still employed to assist a job application.

Before social network platforms developed it would probably have needed a definite act by the former employee to infringe such a clause.  However, with individuals “dipping their toes” into social media and setting up an account here or a profile there, these types of clauses can be unwittingly infringed simply by omission.

Take the obvious example: Linked In. It acts in many cases as nothing more than an online c.v (although there is far more that you can do with it). Many people, including the somewhat Luddite Mrs Jobsworth, set up a profile and then do nothing with it.  Probably in many cases they have forgotten they set the account up at all, meaning that when they do move employers the individual is potentially at risk of action from the former employer for holding themselves out as still being employed,especially if there has been any unpleasantness between the parties.

I’ve not yet had a case of this type of clause being enforced against an employee but it’s only a matter of time.  So, Jobsworth’s Helpful Hint #1 for today is check all your social networking profiles when you leave a job (for whatever reason) and update them, even if it means that your profile shows you are not working at that particular time.    That is preferable to being in breach of a compromise agreement.




Michael Scutt, Employment Solicitor 

Employment solicitor with Crane and Staples, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. Blogger & writer. I like cycling, cricket, football and history.