September 22, 2023

One of many largest fears enterprise house owners have is worker betrayal. The considered an worker utilizing the data and expertise you have got supplied them with to begin a competing enterprise may be harrowing. Nevertheless, there are methods you possibly can defend your enterprise. And that’s the place non-compete clauses come into play. 

A non-compete clause (in any other case often known as a ‘non-competition clause’) will stop an worker from opening a competing enterprise for a sure time frame. Most frequently, it varieties a part of an employment settlement, which an worker agrees to earlier than they begin working at your enterprise.

On this article, we’ll clarify how non-compete clauses work in Australia and 5 essential issues it is best to learn about them.

What’s a non-compete clause?

A non-compete clause is a provision contained in an employment contract that comes into impact after an worker has left your enterprise. Above all, it’s a technique of guaranteeing a stage taking part in discipline with opponents. This clause is a way by which you’ll stop an worker from beginning a enterprise that:

  • Makes use of your enterprise’s confidential info
  • Solicits your purchasers and/or prospects

As soon as your worker indicators the contract, they’re prohibited from offering providers inside a selected geographical space, for a specific time frame. In different phrases, it’s a device that permits companies to have one much less fear on their thoughts in relation to technique and hiring.

5 necessary issues to learn about non-compete clauses 

1. It’s straightforward to insert into an employment contract.

You’ll be able to embrace a non-compete clause as a paragraph in an employment contract, or in a totally separate doc. A correctly drafted non-compete clause could successfully stop staff from becoming a member of rival organisations and likewise beginning competing corporations. 

Moreover, the legislation will guarantee upon the termination of employment, your worker won’t use confidential data to your detriment.


Rod is hiring a product supervisor for his training know-how startup. He is aware of the area is aggressive, and the brand new worker may have entry to confidential info (i.e. go-to-market product concepts for subsequent quarter). He sits down with an employment lawyer to insert a non-complete clause into the brand new worker’s employment contract to make sure that his concepts stay confidential.

2. It’s essential to have a reputable enterprise curiosity to guard

Bear in mind you can not unreasonably impose a restriction that has the impact of stopping an worker from incomes a residing. Subsequently, for those who intend to limit an worker, you have to have a reputable enterprise curiosity to guard. 

For instance, the safety of confidential info, buyer connections or a steady workforce. In any other case, your restraint could also be considered unreasonable for those who solely search to stop an worker from working with a competitor.


Georgia runs an occasion administration firm that has 6 staff. Nevertheless, 3 of those are referrals from one member of employees. Georgia recognises that the referring worker could take the three staff along with her if she leaves. Therefore, she inserts a non-compete clause into the unique worker’s employment contract.

3. A non-compete clause can cowl an worker’s use and disclosure of knowledge each throughout and after employment

You’ll be able to validly restrain your staff from taking a place the place it might give rise to an incentive for the worker to reveal confidential info or make the most of your buyer relations. 

Examples of confidential info embrace:

  • Enterprise methods
  • Gross sales run sheets
  • Model plans
  • Market research information
  • Consumer proposals and shows
  • Coaching and training materials

Nevertheless, in case your worker solely has entry to non-confidential info in the midst of their employment, a non-compete clause is probably not cheap to guard your enterprise curiosity.

4. A non-compete clause can stop your worker from recruiting your purchasers

When you have common purchasers/prospects, then a non-compete clause will protect your relationship with them. How ceaselessly you contact your consumer/buyer and the character of your enterprise curiosity will decide what interval is cheap for a restraint. Understand that though you have got a non-compete clause, it’s not not possible on your purchasers/prospects to maneuver to your former worker’s enterprise in the event that they discover out she or he moved there.


Jason runs a personal tutoring firm. He employs 6 pupil tutors and assigns particular purchasers to them. As such, to legally implement his rule that pupil tutors who go away aren’t allowed to poach his purchasers. He inserts a non-compete clause into the entire present and future hires’ employment agreements. Successfully, he has prevented present staff from recruiting his purchasers in future.

5. A non-compete clause can stop former staff from soliciting your present staff

You could wish to guarantee your former staff don’t have interaction or solicit your employees after the termination of employment, notably in case your former worker has “a major buyer connection curiosity”. 

A correctly drafted non-compete clause will impede former staff from taking your purchasers/prospects and present staff. Nevertheless, if it’s not drafted effectively, it may have the alternative impact and impair the lifeblood of your enterprise.


Are non-compete clauses legally binding? 

Non-compete clauses may be legally binding in Australia underneath sure situations. Nevertheless, their enforceability is determined by numerous components, together with the reasonableness of the clause, its scope, and the precise circumstances of the case. 

Courts in Australia assess the reasonableness of a non-compete clause by contemplating its length, geographical limitations, and the reputable enterprise pursuits being protected.

How lengthy is a non-compete clause in Australia? 

The size or length of a non-compete clause in Australia varies relying on the circumstances and the trade concerned. Whereas there is no such thing as a particular most length set by laws, courts usually have a look at the reasonableness of the restriction. 

Usually, non-compete clauses that reach past 12 months are thought-about extra prone to face scrutiny and will require stronger justification to be deemed enforceable.

Are non-compete clauses relevant to contractors? 

Sure, non-compete clauses may be relevant to contractors in Australia. Contractors, like staff, could also be topic to non-compete agreements if such clauses are included of their contracts. 

Nevertheless, the enforceability of those clauses will probably be assessed based mostly on the identical components as with staff, together with reasonableness and safety of reputable enterprise pursuits. It is crucial for contractors to rigorously evaluation and negotiate the phrases of any non-compete clauses earlier than signing their contracts.


Thus, a non-compete clause can present your enterprise with safety from former staff competing towards your enterprise. Nevertheless, you will need to perceive {that a} non-compete clause is probably not cheap in all circumstances and/or industries. To make sure your non-compete clause offers you ample authorized safety, contact an employment lawyer for related authorized recommendation.