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Restrictive Covenants

It can be common for employers to incorporate clauses/terms within their contracts of employment (written statement) or service agreements to restrict the conduct of the employee/individual during and after their employment has ended. 

The purpose of these clauses are to limit any potential detriment to the business if the individual was to leave and take with them confidential information, documentation or secrets. 

The most common types of clauses used are:

Non-Solicitation

The aim of this clause would be to prevent you having contact with the employer’s clients, contacts or customers with a view to limiting your ability to ‘poach’ your employer’s business or future business.  Such a clause would typically limit your ability to liaise for a specific period, usually between 6-12 months. 

Non-Competition

The aim of this clause would be to prevent you from working for a competitor after termination, again to limit the possibility you will remove business from your current employer causing them a financial loss. 

Non-poaching

This clause would be typically used in larger industries where the removal of key employees could place the employer at a substantial loss and disadvantage. 

Clauses of this nature do not have any defined enforceability.  Each case is taken on its own merits and circumstance by the Employment Tribunal.  Characteristically an Employment Tribunal would look at the wording of the restriction to consider if it has been written to protect a legitimate business interest.  The Employment Tribunal will consider if the clause limits a person’s ability to make a living, whether consciously or not, whether the restriction is imposed for a ‘reasonable’ period of time and the position held within the company at the time the contract was entered into to see if the clause was proportionate to their responsibilities. 

Restrictive covenants are becoming more common with many individuals being left uncertain as to their obligations.  It is always in cases where you are bound by Restrictive Covenants where it is advisable to seek legal advice before any potential breach. 

With offices in Leicester, Wigston and Market Harborough, if you have any concerns regarding restrictive covenants, our Employment Law team will be happy to discuss these with you. Lawson-West are a national provider of expert employment law advice and welcome a free discussion with you regarding you circumstances and potential claim.  If you believe you have a situation where you require free legal advice, please contact us on telephone 01162121000 or 01858 445480 or complete our contact us form online and we will contact you directly.