5 Issues to Know About Non-Compete Clause in Australia

One of many largest fears enterprise house owners have is worker betrayal. The considered an worker utilizing the knowledge and abilities you have got offered them with to start out a competing enterprise could be harrowing. Nevertheless, there are methods you possibly can shield your small business. 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 types a part of an employment settlement, which an worker agrees to earlier than they begin working at your small business.

On this article, we’ll clarify how non-compete clauses work in Australia and 5 essential issues it’s best to 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 small business. Above all, it’s a technique of guaranteeing a degree enjoying discipline with rivals. This clause is a method by which you’ll be able to stop an worker from beginning a enterprise that:

  • Makes use of your small business’s confidential data
  • Solicits your shoppers and/or clients

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

5 necessary issues to find out about non-compete clauses 

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

You may embody a non-compete clause as a paragraph in an employment contract, or in a totally separate doc. A correctly drafted non-compete clause might successfully stop workers from becoming a member of rival organisations and likewise beginning competing firms. 

Moreover, the regulation will guarantee upon the termination of employment, your worker is not going to 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 could have entry to confidential data (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 should have a reliable enterprise curiosity to guard

Remember you can’t unreasonably impose a restriction that has the impact of stopping an worker from incomes a residing. Subsequently, when you intend to limit an worker, you should have a reliable enterprise curiosity to guard. 

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


Georgia runs an occasion administration firm that has 6 workers. Nevertheless, 3 of those are referrals from one member of workers. Georgia recognises that the referring worker might take the three workers 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 data each throughout and after employment

You may validly restrain your workers from taking a place the place it might give rise to an incentive for the worker to reveal confidential data or reap the benefits of your buyer relations. 

Examples of confidential data embody:

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

Nevertheless, in case your worker solely has entry to non-confidential data in the midst of their employment, a non-compete clause might not be affordable to guard your small business curiosity.

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

You probably have common shoppers/clients, then a non-compete clause will protect your relationship with them. How continuously you contact your consumer/buyer and the character of your small business curiosity will decide what interval is affordable for a restraint. Remember the fact that though you have got a non-compete clause, it’s not not possible in 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 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 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 workers from recruiting his shoppers in future.

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

Chances are you’ll wish to guarantee your former workers don’t interact or solicit your workers 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 workers from taking your shoppers/clients and present workers. Nevertheless, if it’s not drafted effectively, it may possibly have the other impact and impair the lifeblood of your small business.


Are non-compete clauses legally binding? 

Non-compete clauses could be legally binding in Australia underneath sure circumstances. Nevertheless, their enforceability is dependent upon varied elements, 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 reliable 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 typically take 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 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 workers, could also be topic to non-compete agreements if such clauses are included of their contracts. 

Nevertheless, the enforceability of those clauses shall be assessed based mostly on the identical elements as with workers, together with reasonableness and safety of reliable enterprise pursuits. It will be significant for contractors to fastidiously evaluate and negotiate the phrases of any non-compete clauses earlier than signing their contracts.


Thus, a non-compete clause can present your small business with safety from former workers competing towards your small business. Nevertheless, you will need to perceive {that a} non-compete clause might not be affordable in all circumstances and/or industries. To make sure your non-compete clause provides you enough authorized safety, contact an employment lawyer for related authorized recommendation.