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A group of my friends was celebrating one of our group securing a new job, and he was complaining about having to continue working at his old job for his 3 month notice period, we started discussing humorous ways that he could force his company to immediately terminate his contract.

One of the group mentioned that his company had a policy for employees who had accepted a role with a competitor of immediately escorting the employee off the premises and placing them on gardening leave.

Assuming my employer had a similar policy, and I secured a role with company A (who aren’t a competitor of my current employer), but I told my manager that I had secured a role with company B (who are a competitor) in an attempt to secure gardening leave. Have I committed fraud?

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    "I'm planning to lie in order to achieve a financial advantage, is that fraud?". - Yes, this is the textbook definition of fraud. – Richard Apr 29 at 17:22
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    "lying to get [...]" is pretty much fraud. – Koray Tugay Apr 29 at 18:07
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    Well, you are under no obligation to inform them you have accepted a role at either A or B - I'd frame it as "I will neither confirm nor deny my new employer - due to a non-disclosure agreement." (which is an agreement you can make with your wife or your friend - doesn't have to be a company) And then - simply because you could be employed at company B, they should in theory have to "garden leave" you. – Stian Yttervik Apr 29 at 21:17
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    Lying would be fraud, but unless the leaving employee is obliged to tell who is his new employer, not telling and not clearing the suspicion that he could be working for a direct competitor could be enough. – Pere Apr 29 at 22:23
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    @Acccumulation - "an intentional misrepresentation of material existing fact made by one person to another with knowledge of its falsity and for the purpose of inducing the other person to act, and upon which the other person relies with resulting injury or damage." - Stripped of lawyer-talk, that's precisely what it means – Richard Apr 29 at 23:30
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Yes, that would be fraud.

From the Fraud Act 2006:

2: Fraud by false representation

1) A person is in breach of this section if he—

(a) dishonestly makes a false representation, and

(b) intends, by making the representation—

(i) to make a gain for himself [...]

By saying that you had got a position with a competitor you would be dishonestly (i.e. you knew it was a lie) making a false representation. Your purpose was to obtain gardening leave, which is a gain for yourself.

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    Not only is it a gain for the OP, but it is a loss for the business. The 3 month period offers the employer a chance to transition in an effective and smooth way. Just up and getting rid of somebody means that they have a hardship to fill that position and possibly train the replacement. There is a non-zero financial burden there. – Ron Beyer Apr 29 at 13:59
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    @RonBeyer True, but not necessary for an offence of fraud. – Paul Johnson Apr 29 at 14:17
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    @TimLymington: That seems to be a very narrow view of causation. Suppose a mugger says "you can give me all your money or you can fight me for it; I'm happy either way", would you then say that the victim's loss of his money was caused not by the mugging but by his voluntary decision not to fight back? – Henning Makholm Apr 29 at 18:37
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    @JohnDvorak thats a very US way of thinking - in the UK, the company can either hold the employee to their notice period, or place them on gardening leave for the duration of their notice period, or mutually agree an immediate end of the employment with a payment being made in lieu of the notice period by the company. The whole "walk them out the door" thing doesn't really happen in Europe, due to employment laws working in the employees favour - the employer cannot retaliate to a resignation with notice by firing the employee. – Moo Apr 29 at 21:44
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    @Ron: It is legal to quit, and you are then entitled to be paid for the notice period specified in your contract (typically a month). It is the company's choice whether to ask you to work that month (and e.g. hand over to your successor) or to stay at home on gardening leave. Either way, I see no reason for a lawsuit. As moo says, in Europe employees have as many rights as employers if not more. – Tim Lymington Apr 29 at 22:02

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