Team moves—employer protection
Team moves—employer protection

The following Employment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Team moves—employer protection
  • Legal issues in a team move
  • Reducing the risk of a team move
  • The implied duty of fidelity (good faith) and fiduciary duties
  • Investigation
  • Responding to a resignation
  • Letters before claim
  • Court action—interim relief
  • Court action—springboard relief
  • Court action—final remedies
  • more

In a team move two or more employees of the same employer leave that employer and either set up in business on their own account, or join one of their current employer's competitors. Usually their move has been planned beforehand and may have been solicited by the new employer.

The team move scenario has given rise to a number of employee competition cases. The law has developed in response to this phenomenon so that from the initial position that there was ‘nothing in the general law to prevent a number of employees in concert deciding to leave their employer and set themselves up in competition with him’ (see Searle v Celltech ) team moves are now fraught with legal difficulties for the current employer, the departing employees and their new employer.

This note focuses on the issues affecting the current employer in a team move scenario. For a discussion of the various legal and practical issues for employees when moving to a competitor and for a new employer, see Practice Notes:

  1. Moving to a competitor—issues for employees

  2. Recruiting from a competitor—issues for employers

The legal complexities arise mainly due to developments in the law relating to the duty of fidelity and fiduciary duties (see below and Practice Note The duty of fidelity and fiduciary duties) and the development of remedies available to the courts,