Veem manager resigns amid court action

21/04/2017 - 14:15

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The recently recruited global sales manager of Perth engineering company VEEM has been forced to resign after his former employer took Supreme Court action, claiming he breached terms of his employment agreement.

Veem manager resigns amid court action
Veem specialises in marine propulsion and stabilisation systems. Photo: Attila Csaszar

The recently recruited global sales manager of Perth engineering company VEEM has been forced to resign after his former employer took Supreme Court action, claiming he breached terms of his employment agreement.

US-based Naiad Maritime Group has alleged that its former global sales director, Steven Vidakovic, made unauthorised copies and removed confidential information from Naiad before resigning from the business on January 15 to take on a similar role at Perth-based Veem.

He started at Veem on January 24.

Veem operates a similar business model to Naiad in that it manufactures and sells its marine stabilisation systems – something Naiad alleges is a breach of Mr Vidakovic’s non-competition clause in his employment agreement.

Naiad last month commenced action in the Supreme Court against Mr Vidakovic seeking injunctions, orders for delivery of the confidential information, and damages.

An interim injunction was granted to restrain Mr Vidakovic from carrying out duties or work for Veem. However, Naiad also sought a restraint on Mr Vidakovic even being employed or engaged by Veem under a non-competition clause in his employment agreement with Naiad.

In his defence, Mr Vidakovic told the court that Naiad had denied him his severance payment when he resigned from the business, despite his former employer arguing that a severance payment was only made when an employee is made redundant as opposed to one resigning from the business.

But Mr Vidakovic argued that his employment agreement with Naiad had still been terminated and he was therefore released from all further performance of the agreement, including the non-competition clause.

Naiad told the court that because Mr Vidakovic was not entitled to a severance payment and because he left the company on his own terms, the non-competition clause was still valid.

“Upon the plaintiff giving the usual undertaking as to damages, the defendant will be restrained until judgement or further order from being employed or engaged by, either directly or indirectly, Veem or any related entity,” Justice Rene Le Miere said in a judgement handed down yesterday.

“The matter should proceed to trial as soon as possible. In the meantime, the parties should be referred to mediation.”

A Veem spokesperson told Business News that Mr Vidakovic resigned from Veem yesterday, but had left the company in good standing.

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