Restrictive Covenants in Employment

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Having clauses in your employment contract such as Restrictive Covenants can have a great impact on your career. It could be that those covenants imposed by your previous employer are causing issues in your new role, or that your prospective employer is asking you to sign a contract which you’re not happy with because of the proposed restrictive covenants.

Our Employment Solicitors can advise you of the impact of these covenants to help to protect your position and avoid unwanted litigation further down the line.

To speak to one of our specialist Employment Solicitors, contact us today.

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What are Restrictive Covenants?

Restrictive Covenants are clauses put into your employment contract that limit what you can do once you leave the business. They can include non-compete clauses or post termination restrictions.

A restrictive covenant in your contract could stop you:

  • Talking to former clients, staff, suppliers or anyone else associated with your previous employer
  • Working in the industry all together for a period of time after your employment has ended

These restrictions can have a big impact your career and can affect the new job you’re looking to move into.

Our specialist Employment Lawyers can help you to be clear about your position so you can understand what your next steps should be.

Enforcing a Restrictive Covenant

If your employer has contacted you to say that you’ve breached a non-compete clause, it can put your new job at risk and could stop you working in your industry, which can have a serious impact on you. You could also be liable for any loss or damage suffered by your previous employer as a result of breaching your restrictive covenants.

You need to be clear about whether the post termination restriction clause in your contract is actually enforceable.

The way your Restrictive Covenant is written will determine if it can be enforced or not. To be legally enforceable, a Restrictive Covenant should be:

  • Reasonable
  • Necessary for the protection of business interests
  • A fair and proportionate length of time to protect those interests

Any non-compete clause must also reflect your position in the company. A restrictive covenant for a senior person in the organisation is likely to be more proportionate than a similar covenant for someone in a more junior role. 

Our expert Employment Solicitors can quickly tell you if your restrictive covenant is likely to be enforceable or not.

If it’s not likely to be enforceable, then it reduces the risk of your previous employer taking formal legal action against you.

Our Employment Solicitors can engage with your previous employers to stop them from issuing legal proceedings against you. This could include negotiating with your employer to achieve a compromise (e.g. agreeing not to work for a competitor for three months rather than six).

Going to Court takes time and can be expensive so we can try avoid this by resolving any issues at the initial stages.

Reviewing a Non-Compete Clause Before You Sign a Contract

It’s so important that you are happy with and understand the Restrictive Covenants included in your employment contract before you sign it.

If you’re not sure about any part of it or if you want to know more about how it could affect you further down the line, it’s important to get specialist legal advice from an Employment Lawyer before you sign.

We can help you to negotiate with your prospective employer to amend the terms of any Restrictive Covenants  so that you’re not unfairly impacted if you leave their employment.

People We’ve Helped

We’ve helped many people deal with Restrictive Covenants in their existing or new employment contracts.

You can read about how we helped a man deal with his former employer who made him redundant and then threatened his new job because of a Restrictive Covenant.

See what our clients have to say about us:

Why Choose Simpson Millar

We offer fair, practical and personal legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances. Our specialist team of Employment Solicitors have helped many people in the same situation as you. We’ll help you to understand quickly if your Restrictive Covenant is enforceable and if it is, give you some options about what you can do next.

We’re the ‘Open Lawyers’ and we’ll always talk to you in plain and easy to understand language, avoiding legal jargon. We explain everything in detail and give you options for your next steps so you’re always clear about what happens next.

Our specialist employment law team will work closely with you to help you get the best possible outcome from your Restrictive Covenant.

Types of Restrictive Covenants

The most common types of Restrictive Covenants are:

  • Non-Compete clause - stops you working for a competitor or starting your own business
  • Non-Solicitation Covenant - stops you from talking to or approaching any of your former employer’s clients
  • Non-Dealing Covenants - stops you doing any kind of business with suppliers, employees or customers of your previous employer
  • Confidentiality Clause - stops you sharing confidential information about the business throughout your employment and sometimes after your employment ends

It doesn’t matter if you have one or all of these clauses in your contract, our experienced Employment Lawyers can help you to understand what the clauses mean for you and what you can do to reduce their impact.

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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Billingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Catterick, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.