contacting ex emplyees

 Hi guys,

recently the manager from my company left she was given a severance package and part of that was for her not to contact staff.  this was not relayed to us and some members of staff have spoken to her but nothing has came back that they have breached confidentiality.


i myself had a fantastic working relationship with her but the new manager has now made us sign a document to say that we can not contact her or else we face disciplinary.  what i am trying to find out is can my company prevent staff from speaking to an ex member of staff even if this was a simple hello hope your well and can they threaten staff with disciplinary?


thanks in advance.

  • Keith

    | 10642 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    9 Jan, 2014 08:12

    Fairly pointless attempt  to control the past/future.

    A blanket ban on talking to an ex-employee is almost certainly unenforceable generally as being unreasonable.

    However the complication is that you have signed something saying you wont. Therefore you have agreed not to. Arguably this means you "could" be disciplined although if this ever got to an ET it would (in my opinion) fall outside the test of reasonableness.

    But your employer would be very ill advised to go down that route for a simple hello etc and unless there is any evidence of confidential information being passed it should all be a non issue.

    Whats really behind all this?  

  • David Perry

    | 5098 Posts

    Chartered Member

    9 Jan, 2014 12:08

    I rather think this is nonsess and pointless.

    Can they, in practical terms really think they can discipline you if for example, you unexpectedly met her whilst 'in town' somewhere?  And how do they define 'contact'  Is it ok for her to contact you?

    Whilst you are in their employ I rather agree with Keith  that having signed something you've sort of agreed to behave in a certain way.  But I don't think any ET would agree with the view of the company if it came to dismissal.

  • David

    | 20959 Posts

    Chartered Member

    9 Jan, 2014 12:39

    Hi Stephen


    As colleagues observe, this is not at all an enforceable way of protecting your employer's legitimate interests, and the manager trying to enforce it this way is sadly mistaken.


    If say someone had signed an undertaking then was disciplined say for speaking with or having coffee with their former colleague this would be regarded by an ET almost certainly as unreasonable behaviour on the employer's part: as such, it would be grounds for a constructive unfair dismissal claim, but these are the nuclear option: as it is, probably best to just to humour the manager concerned rather than get in a row.


    - further instance of just how clueless some 'managers' can be - not that manager was ignorant of such matters, but was too arrogant to take some advice.




  • Hi Guys, 


    as of yet i have not signed the document as i also feel this is very pointless to a certain extent.  if say for e.g. i bumped in to her in town and i said hello and this got back to my new manager this would almost certainly annoy her and i have no doubt that she would look to discipline any staff member that has possibly had contact with her.   


    the ex employee is not allowed to contact us but the new management team have only informed the office staff of this and not our other workers.


    again thank you for all the advice it is very much appreciated :) 

  • In reply to Stephen McDonald:

    Keith i have just re read your response.


    the directors and management team so be on a bit of a paranoid streak for some reason they believe that the ex manager is feeding our commissioners information to potentially damage the company but as of yet nothing has came to light.  i feel they are over reacting there has been some hear say but basically Chinese whispers and people bending the truth i suppose.


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