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Are the post termination restrictions (or restrictive covenants) within my employment contract enforceable after I leave my job?

The legal starting point is that a contractual term restricting your activities after termination of your employment is not regarded as valid because it prevents you earning a living. This is because it is in the public interest that people should be allowed the freedom to work and there should be a healthy market with healthy competition.

A (former) employer can however enforce ‘reasonable’ restrictions on your activities when you leave employment, on a limited basis, as long as the employer can demonstrate the following:

  • The business has a legitimate business interest that it is appropriate to protect;
  • The protection sought is no more than is reasonable having regard to the interests of the parties and the public interest; and
  • You have signed a contract of employment with clauses included that expressly refer to the restrictions

If you are planning to take a new role, or start a business, that you are concerned might breach the clauses in your contract, don’t ignore it and hope no-one will notice! Take advice from  our specialist employment team to get an opinion on whether the restrictions are likely to be enforceable or not.


This is a tricky area. Getting it wrong can result in claims against you, high legal fees, damages being awarded (to be paid to your employer) and/or injunctions stopping you doing what you wanted to do.

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