Global Business

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 data and expertise you might have offered them with to begin a competing enterprise may be harrowing. Nevertheless, there are methods you possibly can shield your enterprise. 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 varieties a part of an employment settlement, which an worker agrees to earlier than they begin working at your enterprise.

On this article, we’ll clarify how non-compete clauses work in Australia and 5 essential issues it’s best to 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 enterprise. Above all, it’s a way of guaranteeing a degree taking part in subject with rivals. This clause is a way by which you’ll stop an worker from beginning a enterprise that:

  • Makes use of your enterprise’s confidential info
  • Solicits your shoppers and/or prospects

As soon as your worker indicators the contract, they’re prohibited from offering companies inside a particular geographical space, for a selected 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 essential issues to learn about non-compete clauses 

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

You possibly can 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 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 expertise startup. He is aware of the area is aggressive, and the brand new worker can 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 could have a authentic 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, when you intend to limit an worker, you have to have a authentic 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 thought to be unreasonable when you 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 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 knowledge each throughout and after employment

You possibly can validly restrain your workers from taking a place the place it might 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 information
  • Shopper proposals and shows
  • Coaching and training materials

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

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

When you have common shoppers/prospects, then a non-compete clause will protect your relationship with them. How often you contact your shopper/buyer and the character of your enterprise curiosity will decide what interval is cheap for a restraint. Remember that though you might have a non-compete clause, it’s not not possible to 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 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 depart aren’t allowed to poach his shoppers. He inserts a non-compete clause into the entire 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

You could need to guarantee your former workers don’t have interaction 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 workers from taking your shoppers/prospects and present workers. Nevertheless, if it’s not drafted nicely, it may well have the alternative impact and impair the lifeblood of your enterprise.


Are non-compete clauses legally binding? 

Non-compete clauses may be legally binding in Australia beneath sure situations. Nevertheless, their enforceability depends upon 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 authentic 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 business concerned. Whereas there isn’t any particular most length set by laws, courts usually take a look at the reasonableness of the restriction. 

Sometimes, 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 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 shall be assessed primarily based on the identical components as with workers, together with reasonableness and safety of authentic enterprise pursuits. It’s important 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 enterprise with safety from former workers competing towards your enterprise. Nevertheless, 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 enough authorized safety, contact an employment lawyer for related authorized recommendation.

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