Peninsular Business Services Ltd v Sweeney, EAT, 20 February 2004, EAT/1096/02

Reading the small print: Sweeney, a sales executive, was employed on terms and conditions which stated that any sales commission would not be paid until one month after a 25 per cent payment by the customer, and only if the employee was still in employment at the end of that month.

Sweeney resigned and claimed around £21,000 in commission. His employer refused to pay, relying on the wording in his contract.

The employment tribunal ordered his employer to pay Sweeney the outstanding commission, finding that the relevant contractual clause was unenforceable. However, the EAT disagreed, holding that the contract term was incorporated into his contract of employment. Once signed, written terms are binding whether or not they have been read. The clause also didn’t amount to an unlawful restraint of trade.

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