After over 30 years in law and over 50 years on the planet (nearly 20 of them spent as a parent!) it’s really hard to surprise me. Whatever mess you’ve got yourself in to, mistake you’ve made or error of judgement you’ve suffered from, not only have I probably dealt with a similar problem, I’ve probably done it myself as well! So not only will you not be able to surprise me, you won’t be judged by me either!

But I bet I can surprise you!

Did you know that in days gone by (long before my time) it was quite common for employers to put provisions in your contract of employment that could restrict when you got married (such as not before you turn 27) and even then, you might be told that you could only marry someone who was white.

A banking contact of mine (who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty) tells of how he had the benefit of a mortgage through his employer, but was prohibited from buying anything bigger than a 3 bedroom property, as it was considered inappropriate for someone of his level to own a four bedroom house.

You might think that the government would have stepped in to prevent such grossly prejudicial contracts, but they were probably the biggest culprit. As recently as the early 1970s the Marriage Bar was still in force in some parts of the UK, particularly the civil service. For those of you who are blissfully unaware of such an awful piece of legislation, this was a rule that forced women to give up their jobs when they got married. The theory being that if they had a husband, they didn’t need a job as well!

As always, my blog isn’t just about amusing or entertaining you. This one is a reminder to make sure you review your contracts on a regular basis. Whilst I would hope that you don’t have anything as archaic and old fashioned that it would still contain anything like this, things change. What’s more, things are changing much faster than they used to, and you want to keep ahead, not just for legal purposes, but also for reputational ones, as we all know how fast things can spread on social media.

If you want a hand reading through your contracts, and laughing about the good old days, you know where to find me – probably in the pub.

Kleyman & Co Solicitors.  The full service law firm.  Full of surprises.