If your contract includes any restrictive covenants, we can tell you if they are reasonable and enforceable

  • An employer can include restrictive covenants in employment contracts, to protect their legitimate business interests after you leave their employment.
  • A restrictive covenant cannot go further than reasonably necessary so that it becomes an unfair restraint of your trade.
  • If you would like clarification of a restrictive covenant in your contract or you think you are burdened by a covenant that is unreasonable, we can give you clear, helpful advice to put you in a stronger position.
  • If you’re thinking about your options after your employment ends, and what your restrictive covenant agreement when you signed your contract means for your future, we can advise you on what you can and cannot do.

What are restrictive covenants?

Restrictive covenants are clauses in an employment contract that place limitations on an employee’s actions after leaving the company. These may include non-compete clauses, non-solicitation clauses, or confidentiality clauses. The purpose of restrictive covenants is to protect the employer’s business interests, but they can also be controversial as they may limit an employee’s future career opportunities.

Do you have restrictive covenants in your employment contract?

Do you have restrictive covenants in your employment contract which seem unreasonably onerous? It is not uncommon to find restrictions in your employment contract or other type of agreement. These restrictions mean you agree not to do certain things for a certain period of time once your employment is terminated.

Common restrictive covenants are usually in relation to the former employee not taking clients, suppliers or other staff with them when they leave, and can also relate to confidential information and not setting up in direct competition to the former employer for a specified period of time.

However, restrictive covenants can be deemed unenforceable if they are not relevant to your position in the business. When it comes to enforcing restrictive covenants, employer needs to be able to prove the restrictive covenant is:-

  • reasonable;
  • necessary to protect their legitimate business interests; and
  • for a period no longer than is necessary to protect those interests.

Under UK restrictive covenant law, this type of restriction cannot be used as a restraint of trade. This means it cannot be a blanket ban on you working in your chosen industry for any period of time. The courts take this very seriously.

How Moore Barlow can help

Perhaps you need advice on fully understanding the implications of a restrictive covenant in your contract before you sign. Or perhaps you are thinking of leaving and want to know whether the covenant is actually enforceable. Whatever your situation, we will examine your contract and provide a clear, helpful explanation. As experienced restrictive covenant solicitors, we are often able to prove the restrictions cannot be enforced, enabling our clients to progress their career unhindered.

We have offices in London, Guildford, Richmond, Southampton, Lymington and Woking and offer specialist support and advice on employment law issues to clients nationwide.