A qualified swimming instructor has agreed to comply with the terms of a High Court injunction preventing him from giving swimming lessons within five miles of his former employer’s premises until mid-October.
The injunction was granted by a High Court judge last month in favor of Limerick-based Swim Max Limited, which is seeking to enforce the terms of a restrictive covenant which it claims formed part of the employment contract by Ricardo Rojas.
It has been claimed that Mr Rojas, with an address in Limerick City, left the company at the end of April.
Swim Max alleged he breached the terms of his contract by giving lessons at a Limerick-area pool before the six-month period, which was due to expire on October 22.
The injunction also prevents Mr. Rojas from using the company’s trade secrets and confidential training technique information or continuing to compete with Swim Max for six months after he leaves the company.
When the case returned to the High Court on Wednesday, Mr Rojas said he was ready to meet the six-month undertaking.
He disputed claims made against him by the company when the case was previously in court and told the judge he wanted to be heard on the matter.
“Toxic” working conditions
Representing himself, Mr. Rojas admitted having been an employee of the company but having left it.
He went on to describe the working conditions at Swim Max as “stressful” and “toxic” which had taken a toll on his mental and physical health.
He said he was currently not working and receiving housing benefit.
He also expressed fear that, like many others, he could end up homeless.
He added that he would contest any costs order sought against him.
The company, represented in the proceedings by Jack Nicholas Bl, denied the claims of Mr. Rojas.
The lawyer said his client wanted the injunction extended until October and added that there had been difficulties serving Mr Rojas with documents warning him that legal action could be taken.
Court documents had been served at the swimming pool where he is believed to have given lessons and at his mother’s residence at Rossadrehid, Bansha in County Tipperary, the court had previously heard.
Judge Dignam agreed to extend the injunction until next October 22, when the recognizance is due to expire.
On this date, the court will examine any request for reimbursement of the costs of the proceedings.
The judge said the parties should take a practical stance regarding any costs claim.
In a sworn statement to the court seeking the order, company founder and owner Diana Daly said she discovered the defendant, who joined the company in 2020, had been teaching swimming at another pool in the Limerick area shortly afterwards.
She said she wasn’t sure how many Swim Max students had left to be trained by Mr. Rojas, which she said would damage the company’s reputation.
Ms Daly, who is a former national swimming champion in her native Lithuania as well as a coach of elite and Olympic athletes, said she started the business, which she co-runs with her husband Jason Daly, nearly 15 years ago.
She said all of the company’s swim coaches are subject to a restrictive clause in their employment contracts that prevents them from taking advantage of programs that Swim Max develops elsewhere.