Taking it easy? High Court upholds 12-month garden leave clause

The defendant in JM Finn & Co Ltd v Holliday, a stockbroker, resigned with the intention of joining a competitor as soon as he could. Having received his letter of resignation, his employer exercised an express contractual right to place the defendant on garden leave and wanted to hold him to his 12-month contractual notice period. But, within a month the defendant resigned, claiming constructive dismissal, relying on the employer’s decision to stop providing him with daily email summaries of financial news as an alleged repudiatory breach of contract and indicating that he regarded himself as free to start employment with the competitor.

After the defendant failed to provide undertakings requested by his former employers, they instituted proceedings and asked the courts for an injunction to prevent him from joining his prospective new employer. An interim injunction was granted; the High Court then had to decide whether to extend that and, if so, for what period…

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