September 29, 2023


Learn Business From Experience

5 Issues to Know About Non-Compete Clause in Australia

5 min read

One of many greatest fears enterprise homeowners have is worker betrayal. The considered an worker utilizing the knowledge and expertise you could have supplied them with to start out a competing enterprise may be harrowing. Nevertheless, there are methods you’ll be able to defend your corporation. 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 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 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 corporation. Above all, it’s a way of guaranteeing a degree enjoying subject with opponents. This clause is a way by which you’ll forestall an worker from beginning a enterprise that:

  • Makes use of your corporation’s confidential data
  • 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 simple to insert into an employment contract.

You possibly can 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 workers 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 information 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 will need to have a legit 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 dwelling. Due to this fact, for those who intend to limit an worker, you need to have a legit enterprise curiosity to guard. 

For instance, the safety of confidential data, 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 workers. Nevertheless, 3 of those are referrals from one member of employees. Georgia recognises that the referring worker could take the three workers 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 possibly can validly restrain your workers from taking a place the place it will give rise to an incentive for the worker to reveal confidential data or benefit from your buyer relations. 

Examples of confidential data embrace:

  • Enterprise methods
  • Gross sales run sheets
  • Model plans
  • Market research knowledge
  • Shopper 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 will not be cheap to guard your corporation curiosity.

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

When you have common purchasers/prospects, then a non-compete clause will protect your relationship with them. How incessantly you contact your consumer/buyer and the character of your corporation curiosity will decide what interval is affordable for a restraint. Understand that though you could have a non-compete clause, it isn’t not possible to 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 scholar tutors and assigns particular purchasers to them. As such, to legally implement his rule that scholar 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 workers from recruiting his purchasers in future.

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

You might need to guarantee your former workers don’t have interaction or solicit your employees after the termination of employment, notably in case your former worker has “a big buyer connection curiosity”. 

A correctly drafted non-compete clause will impede former workers from taking your purchasers/prospects and present workers. Nevertheless, if it isn’t drafted nicely, it may have the other impact and impair the lifeblood of your corporation.


Are non-compete clauses legally binding? 

Non-compete clauses may be legally binding in Australia underneath sure circumstances. Nevertheless, their enforceability relies on varied 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 legit 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 isn’t 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 should 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 workers, could also be topic to non-compete agreements if such clauses are included of their contracts. 

Nevertheless, the enforceability of those clauses can be assessed based mostly on the identical components as with workers, together with reasonableness and safety of legit enterprise pursuits. It is necessary for contractors to rigorously assessment 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 workers competing in opposition to your corporation. Nevertheless, 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 offers you ample authorized safety, contact an employment lawyer for related authorized recommendation.

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