Employment solicitors for restrictive covenants

Our restrictive covenant solicitors can provide legal advice on whether a restrictive covenant in your employment contract is enforceable.

What are restrictive covenants?

A restrictive covenant is a clause in your employment contract which prohibits you, as an employee, from competing commercially with your employer for a certain period of time after you resign from your position. In addition, restrictive covenants may be used by employers to prevent ex-employees from soliciting or dealing with customers of the business by using knowledge of those customers gained during their employment.

Are restrictive covenants enforceable?

As a starting point, a restrictive covenant is unenforceable as it is deemed a restraint of trade and therefore against public policy. However, the employment tribunal has the power to examine the clause in detail and deem it enforceable if the employer can show:

  • the restrictive covenant is in place to protect their legitimate commercial interests, and
  • it only extends in so far as to reasonably protect those interests

Acting only for employees, our restrictive covenant solicitors can provide you with reliable legal advice as to whether a restrictive covenant in your employment contract is enforceable. We know the specific factors the employment tribunal will look at when deciding whether or not to enforce the restrictive covenant. We will work to prove that the restrictive covenant is unreasonable and affects your ability to earn a living.

Your help made a big difference to my ability to stand my ground with my employers. Thank you. (Miss A., Hertfordshire)

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What will the employment tribunal consider to decide whether a restrictive covenant is reasonable?

Remember, the starting point is that any restrictive covenant clause is unenforceable. The onus is on the employer to prove that it is reasonable. Based on the evidence provided by your employer, the employment tribunal will look at factors such as:

  • the breadth of activities restricted by the covenant
  • the geographical area covered
  • the amount of time the restrictive covenant will be in place for
  • the importance of the information or interests sought to be protected
  • whether the restrictive covenant was a justifiable way of protecting the employer’s legitimate interests

I have been offered an employment contract which contains a restrictive covenant clause – should I sign It?

If you have been asked to sign a contract that contains a restrictive covenant clause, it is imperative that you seek professional legal advice before signing. If you leave your employer in the future and breach the restrictive covenant agreement between you and your employer, and the court deems it enforceable, you will be in breach of your employment contract. In this instance, your employer can serve an injunction on you to prevent your future business activities or claim damages from you.

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