If you’re planning to start a new job, your employer may ask you to sign an employment contract with a non-competition and/or non-solicitation clause. If you’re leaving your current job, your employer might remind you about such clauses in your contract.
You are interested in continuing to work in your chosen field, applying the skills and cultivating the contacts you’ve made over the years. Your employer is interested in making sure you don’t set up shop against it with everything you’ve come to know and learn there.
Should those clauses hold you back from making your next career move?
In Ontario, non-competition clauses are difficult to enforce, especially as they get longer in time and broader in their restrictions. A clause prohibiting you from working for any employer in your field in the world for five years would likely not be enforceable; one restricting you from starting a similar business for six months within ten kilometres of their offices might be.
Non-solicitation clauses are more likely to be enforceable provided that they are unambiguous and reasonable under the circumstances. Depending on the nature of your job, your responsibilities and the information you would have access to, your employer may have concerns that you could take clients and employees away with you—and employers can go to court for an injunction on short notice to stop it and seek significant damages against you.
The lawyers at Alemi Law Group can advise you of your rights and responsibilities under these clauses. Don’t take the risk on that new job without independent legal advice!
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