Insights

Regretful repudiation ruins restraints

Workplace Relations & Safety

Tasmanian Looney Tunes

Is it possible to have your cake and eat it too? No, as it turns out — but that won't stop us from buying more cakes to continue experimental verification of this hypothesis. Similarly, is it possible to breach an employment agreement in such a fundamental way that the agreement comes to an end, but then to subsequently rely on the benefits and protections that the agreement previously provided to you?1

Surprisingly, the answer to this question was not made clear until the Supreme Court of Victoria's Court of Appeal (SCV) was recently asked to decide whether an employer, Crowe Horwath, could rely upon the post-employment restraints provided in one of its employment agreements after the employer had itself repudiated the contract.2

The case is a useful illustration of the potentially significant consequences which an employer might face if it fails to comply with the terms of its own employment agreements.3

Tasmanian Looney Tunes

Anthony Loone had been Crowe Horwath's most senior executive in its Launceston office for many years. An accountant by trade, Loone had been appointed as "Managing Principal" from November 2012, and had developed very close relationships with Crowe Horwath's clients over time.

In January 2015, Crowe Horwath was acquired by Findex Group Ltd. Following the acquisition, Findex introduced various changes, such as the appointment of a Manager with overall responsibility for all Crowe Horwath offices throughout Australia and New Zealand, with a view to streamlining Crowe Horwath's operations.

Between late 2015 and June 2016, Loone's management responsibilities were largely stripped from his role, such that he no longer enjoyed autonomy in making decisions about the running of the Launceston office.


1 <span style="font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 11pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 12.0pt; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-font-family: "Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language: EN-AU; mso-fareast-language: EN-AU; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA;">Surprisingly, the answer to

<span style="font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 11pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 12.0pt; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-font-family: "Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language: EN-AU; mso-fareast-language: EN-AU; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA;"><span style="font-family: "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 11pt; mso-bidi-font-size: 12.0pt; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-font-family: "Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language: EN-AU; mso-fareast-language: EN-AU; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA;">2 Surprisingly, the answer to

All information on this site is of a general nature only and is not intended to be relied upon as, nor to be a substitute for, specific legal professional advice. No responsibility for the loss occasioned to any person acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material published can be accepted.

Key
Contacts