Restrictive covenants are used in employment contracts when employment is terminated, to protect an employer’s business, intellectual property and prevent ex-employees poaching suppliers, clients and colleagues.
Restrictive covenants may also involve an agreement that an ex-employee will not work in a similar company or compete with an ex-employer for a period of time after employment ends.
An ex-employee may also be barred from discussing his former employer’s business, to protect intellectual property or information about an ex-employer’s clients.
The different types of covenants are:
Restrictive covenants in an employment contract or when a contract is terminated may seem unfair and unreasonable.
If an employee wishes to challenge a restrictive covenant, an employer must prove that the covenant is reasonable and not unreasonably restrictive – usually a restrictive covenant would have to comply with what is considered standard practice within a business sector and also be appropriate to an employee’s professional level within an industry or business.
Some restrictive covenants would involve a set time period – or a restriction which prevents a former employee operating within a certain geographic radius of their former employer. If this is challenged, an employer must prove that it is reasonable to impose this.
Restrictive covenants are likely to be imposed on senior members of staff in a firm – but may also be imposed on staff at any level, including contract staff.
Confidentiality clauses in contracts are not unusual, as well as clauses under which an employee hands over intellectual property to an employer eg a discovery made during employment or a piece of work or research.
Because restrictive covenants is a complex area of the law and such clauses may extend for a period of time beyond employment, it is important to seek advice from a specialist firm of employment solicitors such as Duncan Lewis before agreeing a contract of employment.
In some cases, an employer might try to assert that an ex-employee has breached a restrictive covenant – and Duncan Lewis can advise on such cases, including cases where an employer might seek an injunction against a former employee.
Duncan Lewis also advises on reviews of restrictive covenants to make sure they are still reasonable and enforceable – as well as cases involving employees who are required to spend their period of notice or a part of it at home and salaried (garden leave).
Duncan Lewis employment lawyers act on behalf of claimants and respondents in all Employment Tribunal related matters.
The Duncan Lewis employment team can represent all types of employers, both large and small – as well as individual employees and collective employees in matters relating to the Employment Rights Act 1996 and restrictive covenants.
Duncan Lewis employment law solicitors operate a transparent fee scale – and can offer a range of competitively priced funding options for claimants and respondents:
Some cases may be funded with Home Contents Insurance or Contents/Buildings Insurance with Employment Protection Cover.
Duncan Lewis believes clients should always know what they will be paying – and will advise on the best funding option at the initial client meeting.
If you have a problem with employment and restrictive covenants in an employment contract, it is important to take legal advice and find out what your rights are as soon as possible.
Duncan Lewis can offer clear legal advice on employment law at any stage of an employment matter, including periodically reviewing restrictive covenants in a contract of employment.
Duncan Lewis also has a successful track record in advising companies and employers on employment matters and disputes involving restrictive covenants.
The sooner you call us, the sooner we can help with an employment claim or dispute.
Duncan Lewis has offices nationwide and in most major cities, with more than 20 offices across London and the southeast.
For expert legal advice on employment law and restrictive covenants, call Duncan Lewis employment solicitors on 020 7923 4020.