East England Schools CIC (T/A 4Myschools) v Palmer and Another: QBD 20 Dec 2013

The claimant company sought to enforce post employment restrictive covenants against the defendants, its former employees. The defendant argued that the increasing use by teachers and schools of social media and the internet means that the employer no longer has any protectable connection with its customers. The claimant’s business was that of an agency which sought to find teachers for schools with teaching vacancies. Among the post-employment restraints included in the first defendant’s contract with the claimant was a provision that, whether as shareholder or otherwise, she should not be ‘concerned with the supply . . of Services’ to any school or teacher with whom she had had recent dealings.
Held: The provision, which specifically extended to her status as a shareholder, was unreasonably wide because it would even prevent her from having a minority shareholding in a competing company which supplied such services. But, by reference to the three criteria and the additional criterion, the court proceeded to declare that the provision should be severed and removed from the remainder of the restraints, which were enforceable. He had therefore asked himself whether severance would change the underlying character of the contract. He had not asked himself whether the unreasonable provision in effect formed a separate covenant.


Salter QC HHJ


[2013] EWHC 4138 (QB), [2014] IRLR 191




England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedTillman v Egon Zehnder Ltd SC 3-Jul-2019
The company appealed from rejection of its contention that its former employee should be restrained from employment by a competitor under a clause in her former employment contract. The court particularly considered the severability of a section . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Employment, Contract

Updated: 11 April 2022; Ref: scu.519769