Oyster Risk Solutions won in tribual against former employee Colin Swinney

Yorkshire-based Oyster Risk Solutions (ORS) has won an employment tribunal against a former employee.

The Broker Network-owned business will now continue to pursue a High Court claim for £100,000 against Colin Swinney, who is accused of breaching restrictive covenants.

The legal action was put on hold to fight a counter claim of constructive dismissal from Swinney.

But the Manchester Employment Tribunal ruled against Swinney, saying “the claimant had neither been unfairly (constructively) dismissed nor had he been wrongfully dismissed by the respondent”.

ORS managing director Ken Donaldson said: “We are obviously delighted in the unanimous judgment handed to us by the tribunal, which leaves us free to pursue our claim in the High Court.

“It is important that we are able to protect our businesses, our employees and ultimately our customers by ensuring the enforcement of restrictive covenants in a fair and reasonable manner.”

The dispute started in May last year when Swinney resigned from ORS, to join Ten Insurance Service a few days later.

The writ said that before leaving ORS, he downloaded confidential information and sent a considerable number of historic and contemporary emails to his personal account, all of which contained confidential information.

Oyster Risk argued that it had lost commission of at least £7,000 and expected to suffer losses of at least £35,000, according to the court papers.

In his resignation letter, Swinney claimed that Oyster Risk had imposed a change in commission that amounted to a fundamental breach of contract, meaning that his post-termination covenants and confidentiality obligations no longer applied.

Insurance Times revealed last week that Giles managing director Sarah Lyons recently told staff in a note that anyone in breach of their covenant once they left the business would be dealt with “very seriously”. Her message came after a number of former employees left the consolidator to start a fresh business.

A spokesman for Swinney said he could not comment.