Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

We’re going to have a look in today’s post at a specific restrictive covenant that may (or may not) be contained within an employee’s contract of employment: the right to place the employee on garden leave during the period of notice.

  1. What is garden leave?
  2. Why might an employer want to put an employee on garden leave?
  3. Does an employer have the right to put an employee on garden leave?
  4. Can the right to put an employee on garden leave be challenged?

What is garden leave?

If your employer is attempting to put you on “garden leave” then this means that your employment is terminating and that your employer is attempting to force you to stay away from the office for the duration of your notice period.

Why might an employer want to put an employee on garden leave?

There are a number of reasons why your employer might want to put you on garden leave. This includes:

  1. The power to stop you from performing your regular duties immediately (such as speaking to clients, dealing with contracts and transactions etc.)
  2. The ability to keep you away from being employed by potential competitors for the duration of the notice period
  3. The hope that any confidential information that you may be privy to may go out of date during your period of notice; and
  4. To enable your successor to establish good relations with the customers or clients that you dealt with at your employer, so as to protect existing business relationships and goodwill

Does an employer have the right to put an employee on garden leave?

An employer may have an express or an implied contractual right to put you on garden leave.

Express contractual right

This right will be included in your contract of employment (or ancillary documentation). There should be a clause in your contract which allows the employer to withdraw you from your duties and exclude you from the business premises. There may also be an express contractual provision which restricts your ability to pursue other business interests during your employment (to stop you from doing other work during your garden leave period).

Implied contractual right

If your employer does not have an express contractual right to place you on garden leave then they must rely on any implied contractual right. Generally, the courts have held that an employer can not have an implied contractual right to force an employee to go on garden leave during their period of notice. The courts generally focus instead on whether the employee has the implied right to work during the period of their notice. However, the employee will only generally be found to possess this right if they have specific skills which they need to exercise during the notice period (to prevent deskilling), if they are going to miss out on important remuneration opportunities during the notice period (such as bonuses or commission etc.) or if the employee has already demonstrated bad faith during their period of employment.

Can the right to put an employee on garden leave be challenged?

Put simply, yes. In order for this restrictive covenant to be enforceable your employer must be able to demonstrate that:

  • Putting you on garden leave is for a legitimate reason and that it is not a disproportionate action in the circumstances – this will normally apply if the employee is seeking to join a competitor and that such employment is likely to damage the employer’s business; and
  • That the period of garden leave is reasonable

Redmans Solicitors are employment law solicitors based in Richmond and the City of London.

logo_website

About Chris Hadrill

Chris is a specialist employment lawyer at Redmans. He specialises in contentious and non-contentious employment matters, including breach of contract claims, compromise agreements and Employment Tribunal cases. He writes on employment law matters on a variety of websites, including Direct 2 Lawyers, Lawontheweb.co.uk, LegalVoice, the Justice Gap and his own blog. Contact Chris by emailing him at chadrill@redmans.co.uk

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Our awards

Request a callback

    Your first name (required)

    Your last name (required)

    Your email (required)

    Your telephone number (required)

    Brief details of your enquiry

    Testimonials

    4.80 Average

    370 Reviews

    Glyn B

    Provided a great service, covered all my requirements

    Posted 6 hours ago

    Fidel A

    Redmans Solicitors recently helped me navigate a recent employment termination settlement agreement. Chris Hadrill is very professional and you will be in good hands with him. I score Redmans 4 out of 5 because things had to move fast and felt the team member assigned to my case wasn't very responsive at times. Having said that, I was very happy with the outcome and have no hesitation in recommending their services.

    Posted 23 hours ago

    Nigel A

    Chris Hadrill is hugely impressive - the right blend of assured calm and savvy professionalism. I've already recommended him to friends and family.

    Posted 1 day ago

    Matt O

    I was hugely impressed with the ease of being able to work with Redmans Solicitors and their professional approach. Mel was really clear around the process, and costings required and I felt comfortable throughout. I would certainly recommend.

    Posted 1 day ago

    Bryan G

    Great response, and also happy to assist

    Posted 1 day ago

    David L

    I was made a settlement offer by my employer to terminate my emplyment early. Redmans helped me understand the offer, and ensured that it was fair for someone in my position. They made a very stressful situation much easier. Excellent service.

    Posted 2 days ago

    Anonymous

    I can highly recommend Redmans. The service was professional and prompt and I would not hesitate to use them again. Thanks

    Posted 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    Overall I am satisfied with the performance from Redmans. The reason I have given 4 stars is that I had quite a lot difficulty in contacting the representative which was initially nominated for me. However, when I contacted Chris instead, he was excellent over the phone and secured a great outcome in short order. I would recommend Redmans Solicitors.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    Chris and Redmans were a great help. Effective and efficient, quick response from my first enquiry and then straightforward and attentive throughout with ultimately a positive outcome. I will use them again and recommend them.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Marie P

    Great service, quick responses, good advice and all in a no nonsense, no jargon manner. Would definitely recommend.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    Rana was amazingly thorough and professional!

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    I am extremely happy with the legal advice I was provided with. My case was resolved to the best of my expectations. Thank you very much for your professional help.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Shahzad R

    Chris and his team were excellent. They provided sound advice and consultation that resulted in more cash than was offered. Would definitely recommend.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Sanjay B

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mel Chin, for all her support during my settlement process. Where she provided a professional service and was understanding. I would confidently recommend Redmans Solicitors to my friends and family. Thank you and wishing you all a Merry Christmas.

    Posted 4 weeks ago

    Paul O

    Excellent response time and communication during my dealings with Redmans

    Posted 1 month ago

    Gil T

    I don’t normally write reviews, but thought it was time on this occasion. Just wanted to say that I highly recommend Redmans - especially Rana Tandon, who helped me navigate around my employment contract. Rana was meticulous and thorough and all over my needs. Would I use Redmans again ? ..absolutely

    Posted 1 month ago

    Stephanie D

    Very thorough and professional service. I was very nervous about my employment case, as I had never dealt with anything like it before. However, the solicitors who handled my case made sure I understood everything. I was never kept in the dark and Redmans kept me constantly informed about what was going on with my case. I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors

    Posted 1 month ago

    Richard S

    Chris and Sacha were great throughout the entire process. Chris was very helpful once the initial discussions with my company began and before we agreed there was a case. Sacha was very responsive, patient and helpful throughout ensuring I felt I had the right information to make the best decision on next steps. A close friend and wife have both used Redmans in the past few years for unfair dismissals and the service continues to be first-class and I would strongly recommend them again. They definitely help reduce the anxiety that comes with uncertainty around new processes and situations. Thank you!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Jianya

    Very nice and patient went through the whole document with me.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Susan L

    Very helpful and led me through the redundancy process.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Jennice

    I was very impressed with the service that I received, and the speed in which it was handled. I would recommend them to a family member

    Posted 1 month ago