So you're working for a small company bought by a larger company (presumably TUPE applies) and when one of the former employees sets up a rival business and staff start defecting the new owners issue new contracts with a clause that "you will not go and work for a competitor within 12 months of leaving".
This new contract is to be signed by a certain date or else it will be taken as you are resigning! (no pressure then!)
Surely this is out of order / illegal on 2 counts:
1. staff were transferred under TUPE and original contracts with the small company did not have such a clause so can this new contract/clause be imposed especially in the manner it is - with a threat?
2. how can anyone not go and work for a competitor for 12 months (new contracts have been issued to all staff including the most junior / recent starters who only have 1 month notice periods). Isn't that the point of notice periods / gardening leave if appropriate? Surely this clause is a career killer and no other consulting firm (or any company) anywhere insists on this.
Illegal and/or bully boy tactics in the extreme?