Restrictive Covenants and Non-Competition Clauses
A restrictive covenant is a promise by an employee not to do something after the period of employment has finished for example not to compete, poach employees or take clients with whom the employee had dealings during the employment.
A restrictive covenant must protect a legitimate business interest such as a trade secret or highly confidential information. It must not be so wide that it amounts to a restraint of trade, for example, restrict an assistant solicitor from working for 12 months anywhere in the United Kingdom .
The restriction must be reasonable and apply to the individual. For example, a hairdresser should not be restricted from working as a salesperson selling hair treatment products, combs and brushes. The time restraint must not be too long and the area restriction must not be too wide.
If the clause is unreasonable it may be unenforceable. If it is enforceable, an employer may apply for an injunction and sue for damages.
This is a complicated area and specific legal advice should be sought.