The publisher of an independent newspaper in Yorkshire has been threatened with legal action by Johnston Press in a row over a former member of its advertising staff.
Danny Lockwood, publisher of Dewsbury-based weekly The Press, received a solicitor’s letter after a former JP employee who left the company five months ago came in to help him out during a period of short-staffing.
The letter claimed the employee in question, Janet Black, may have been in breach of “post-termination restrictions” in her contract of employment.
It was sent by Glasgow-based law firm MacRoberts, acting on behalf of JP subsidiary the Yorkshire Weekly Newspapers Group which publishes the Dewsbury Reporter.
The letter stated: “It has come to our client’s attention that one of its former employees, Janet Black, is working for you.
“You may not be aware that she has post-termination restrictions in her contract of employment with our client. We understand she may have acted in breach of them.
“Please be advised that if Ms Black has breached, or does breach, any express or implied terms of her contract of employment with our client by being in employment with you or by contacting our client’s customers or clients, using information taken from our client’s records or databases or otherwise, and if you have induced her to breach these restrictions, our client will not hesitate to take further action which may include raising proceedings against you for interdict and/or damages.”
Danny told HTFP that Ms Black had come into his offices for one day to help out in a staff shortage crisis.
He said she had in fact previously worked for him before being herself “poached” by Johnston Press.
“They don’t seem to see the irony in having poached Jan from me in order to get to our customers,” he said.
Johnston Press has declined to comment further on the issue.