5 Issues to Know About Non-Compete Clause in Australia

One of many greatest fears enterprise homeowners have is worker betrayal. The considered an worker utilizing the data and abilities you might have offered them with to start out a competing enterprise could be harrowing. Nonetheless, there are methods you’ll be able to defend what you are promoting. And that’s the place non-compete clauses come into play. 

A non-compete clause (in any other case referred to as a ‘non-competition clause’) will forestall an worker from opening a competing enterprise for a sure time frame. Most frequently, it types a part of an employment settlement, which an worker agrees to earlier than they begin working at what you are promoting.

On this article, we’ll clarify how non-compete clauses work in Australia and 5 essential issues you must 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 what you are promoting. Above all, it’s a technique of making certain a stage taking part in discipline with rivals. This clause is a way by which you’ll forestall an worker from beginning a enterprise that:

  • Makes use of what you are promoting’s confidential info
  • Solicits your shoppers and/or prospects

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

5 essential issues to learn about non-compete clauses 

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

You’ll be able to embody a non-compete clause as a paragraph in an employment contract, or in a very separate doc. A correctly drafted non-compete clause might successfully forestall staff from becoming a member of rival organisations and in addition beginning competing firms. 

Moreover, the legislation will guarantee upon the termination of employment, your worker is not going to use confidential information to your detriment.


Rod is hiring a product supervisor for his schooling expertise 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 professional 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. Due to this fact, if you happen to intend to limit an worker, you should have a professional enterprise curiosity to guard. 

For instance, the safety of confidential info, buyer connections or a secure workforce. In any other case, your restraint could also be considered unreasonable if you happen to solely search to forestall an worker from working with a competitor.


Georgia runs an occasion administration firm that has 6 staff. Nonetheless, 3 of those are referrals from one member of employees. Georgia recognises that the referring worker might take the three staff together 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 could give rise to an incentive for the worker to reveal confidential info or benefit from your buyer relations. 

Examples of confidential info embody:

  • Enterprise methods
  • Gross sales run sheets
  • Model plans
  • Market research knowledge
  • Consumer proposals and displays
  • Coaching and schooling materials

Nonetheless, in case your worker solely has entry to non-confidential info in the midst of their employment, a non-compete clause will not be cheap to guard what you are promoting curiosity.

4. A non-compete clause can forestall your worker from recruiting your shoppers

If in case you have common shoppers/prospects, then a non-compete clause will protect your relationship with them. How steadily you contact your consumer/buyer and the character of what you are promoting curiosity will decide what interval is affordable for a restraint. Needless to say though you might have a non-compete clause, it isn’t not possible in your shoppers/prospects to maneuver to your former worker’s enterprise in the event that they discover out she or he moved there.


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

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

It’s possible you’ll wish to guarantee your former staff don’t interact or solicit your employees after the termination of employment, significantly in case your former worker has “a major buyer connection curiosity”. 

A correctly drafted non-compete clause will impede former staff from taking your shoppers/prospects and present staff. Nonetheless, if it isn’t drafted properly, it may well have the alternative impact and impair the lifeblood of what you are promoting.


Are non-compete clauses legally binding? 

Non-compete clauses could be legally binding in Australia below sure circumstances. Nonetheless, their enforceability is determined by numerous components, together with the reasonableness of the clause, its scope, and the particular circumstances of the case. 

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

How lengthy is a non-compete clause in Australia? 

The size or period of a non-compete clause in Australia varies relying on the circumstances and the trade concerned. Whereas there isn’t any particular most period set by laws, courts usually have a look at the reasonableness of the restriction. 

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

Are non-compete clauses relevant to contractors? 

Sure, non-compete clauses could 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. 

Nonetheless, the enforceability of those clauses will probably be assessed based mostly on the identical components as with staff, together with reasonableness and safety of professional enterprise pursuits. It will be important 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 what you are promoting with safety from former staff competing towards what you are promoting. Nonetheless, you will need to perceive {that a} non-compete clause will not be cheap in all circumstances and/or industries. To make sure your non-compete clause provides you adequate authorized safety, contact an employment lawyer for related authorized recommendation.