5 Issues to Know About Non-Compete Clause in Australia

One of many largest fears enterprise homeowners have is worker betrayal. The considered an worker utilizing the knowledge and abilities you have got offered them with to begin a competing enterprise might be harrowing. Nonetheless, there are methods you possibly can shield your corporation. And that’s the place non-compete clauses come into play. 

A non-compete clause (in any other case often called 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 your corporation.

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

  • Makes use of your corporation’s confidential info
  • Solicits your shoppers and/or clients

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

5 necessary issues to find out about non-compete clauses 

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

You may 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 forestall staff from becoming a member of rival organisations and in addition 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 house is aggressive, and the brand new worker could 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. You will need to have a authentic enterprise curiosity to guard

Remember you can not unreasonably impose a restriction that has the impact of stopping an worker from incomes a dwelling. Due to this fact, in the event you intend to limit an worker, it’s essential to have a authentic 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 in the event you 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 could 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 may 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 make the most of your buyer relations. 

Examples of confidential info embrace:

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

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

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

When you’ve got common shoppers/clients, then a non-compete clause will protect your relationship with them. How steadily you contact your consumer/buyer and the character of your corporation curiosity will decide what interval is affordable for a restraint. Remember that though you have got a non-compete clause, it’s not unimaginable on your shoppers/clients 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 scholar tutors and assigns particular shoppers to them. As such, to legally implement his rule that scholar tutors who go away 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

Chances are you’ll need to guarantee your former staff don’t have interaction or solicit your employees after the termination of employment, significantly in case your former worker has “a big buyer connection curiosity”. 

A correctly drafted non-compete clause will impede former staff from taking your shoppers/clients and present staff. Nonetheless, if it’s not drafted properly, it will possibly have the other impact and impair the lifeblood of your corporation.


Are non-compete clauses legally binding? 

Non-compete clauses might be legally binding in Australia beneath sure situations. Nonetheless, their enforceability is dependent upon 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 period, geographical limitations, and the authentic 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 business concerned. Whereas there isn’t a particular most period set by laws, courts usually take a look at the reasonableness of the restriction. 

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

Are non-compete clauses relevant to contractors? 

Sure, non-compete clauses might 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 likely be assessed based mostly on the identical components as with staff, together with reasonableness and safety of authentic enterprise pursuits. It is crucial for contractors to rigorously evaluate and negotiate the phrases of any non-compete clauses earlier than signing their contracts.


Thus, a non-compete clause can present your corporation with safety from former staff competing in opposition to your corporation. Nonetheless, you will need to perceive {that a} non-compete clause might not be 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.