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8 February 2016 0 Comments
Posted in Employment, Opinion

Firms could face action over exclusivity clauses

Author headshot image Posted by , Partner

Companies who try to enforce “exclusivity clauses” in zero hours contracts could be taken to Employment Tribunals in future.

Last May, laws came into force that banned employers from preventing people employed or engaged on a zero hours basis from seeking work with other organisations.

As of January 11th, employees who are unfairly dismissed, or employees and workers who are treated detrimentally for failing to comply with an exclusivity clause have the right to take their case to a Tribunal. Dismissal of a zero hours employee will be automatically unfair if the sole or principle reason for their dismissal is because they have breached a contractual term preventing them from working for another employer. There is no minimum qualifying period of service for such a claim but it should be noted that this right extends only to employees and not to workers – workers only have the right to complain of unfair treatment.

Trade unions have welcomed the news having previously argued that the ban wouldn’t be properly enforced until employees had the right to seek redress.

Official guidance issued by the Government says: “An employer must allow the individual to take work elsewhere in order to earn an income if they themselves do not offer sufficient hours.

“If an employer includes an exclusivity clause in a zero hours contract, the individual cannot be bound by it, the law states the individual can ignore it.

“An employer must not attempt to avoid the exclusivity ban by, for example, stipulating that the individual must seek their permission to look for or accept work elsewhere.”

Successful claimants may be entitled to appropriate compensation.

For more information on our employment law services or advice on restrictive covenants please visit our contact our expert Employment & HR team.

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