09 July 2010 #Employment
The BBC has asked Christine Bleakley, current girlfriend of footballer Frank Lampard, not to return to her role presenting The One Show when it returns to TV screens next week.
Despite asking her not to return to work, the BBC has reportedly refused to end her contract early, effectively placing her on garden leave until her contract expires, believed to be September this year.
The purpose of garden leave is to keep the employee out of the job market long enough for any information they have to go out of date, or to enable that employee`s successor to establish themselves, particularly with customers, so as to protect goodwill.
Bleakley has signed a contract with rival station ITV to front its new breakfast show "Daybreak" and this is most likely the reason that she was not allowed to leave early.
It is good practice to have a garden leave clause in the contracts of employment of all senior employees. The template contract of employment on Buddy contains a gardening leave clause which can be adapted to fit employer`s standard employment contracts.
Whilst it is possible to place employees on garden leave in the absence of an express clause, it is not advisable, especially if the employment contract contains restrictive covenants which could stop your employee working for a rival company for a set time period. This is because the covenants would potentially become unenforceable if the courts deemed that by putting the employee on garden leave without a contractual right to do so as it would be a breach of contract resulting in the other contractual provisions becoming void. For further information on restrictive covenants, see the buddy factsheet.