5 Issues to Know About Non-Compete Clause in Australia

One of many greatest fears enterprise homeowners have is worker betrayal. The considered an worker utilizing the data and abilities you may have offered them with to begin a competing enterprise could be harrowing. Nonetheless, there are methods you’ll be able to defend 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 forestall an worker from opening a competing enterprise for a sure time period. 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 you need 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 way of guaranteeing a stage taking part in discipline with rivals. This clause is a method by which you’ll forestall 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 companies inside a selected geographical space, for a selected time period. In different phrases, it’s a device that permits companies to have one much less fear on their thoughts in the case of technique and hiring.

5 vital issues to find out about non-compete clauses 

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

You’ll be able to embrace 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 forestall workers from becoming a member of rival organisations and likewise beginning competing corporations. 

Moreover, the regulation will guarantee upon the termination of employment, your worker is not going to use confidential information to your detriment.


Rod is hiring a product supervisor for his schooling know-how startup. He is aware of the area is aggressive, and the brand new worker can 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 could have a reputable enterprise curiosity to guard

Remember you can not unreasonably impose a restriction that has the impact of stopping an worker from incomes a residing. Due to this fact, in case you intend to limit an worker, you could have a reputable 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 thought to be unreasonable in case you solely search to stop an worker from working with a competitor.


Georgia runs an occasion administration firm that has 6 workers. Nonetheless, 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’ll be able to 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 reap the benefits of your buyer relations. 

Examples of confidential data embrace:

  • Enterprise methods
  • Gross sales run sheets
  • Model plans
  • Market research information
  • Consumer proposals and shows
  • Coaching and schooling materials

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

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

When you have common shoppers/clients, then a non-compete clause will protect your relationship with them. How regularly you contact your shopper/buyer and the character of your small business curiosity will decide what interval is affordable for a restraint. Understand that though you may have 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 pupil tutors and assigns particular shoppers to them. As such, to legally implement his rule that pupil tutors who go away 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 forestall former workers from soliciting your present workers

You could wish to guarantee your former workers don’t have interaction or solicit your workers 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 shoppers/clients and present workers. Nonetheless, if it’s not drafted effectively, it may have the alternative impact and impair the lifeblood of your small business.


Are non-compete clauses legally binding? 

Non-compete clauses could be legally binding in Australia below sure situations. Nonetheless, their enforceability relies on 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 length, geographical limitations, and the reputable 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 typically have a look at the reasonableness of the restriction. 

Usually, non-compete clauses that reach past 12 months are thought of extra prone to face scrutiny and will 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. 

Nonetheless, the enforceability of those clauses shall be assessed based mostly on the identical components as with workers, together with reasonableness and safety of reputable enterprise pursuits. It is vital for contractors to rigorously overview 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 in opposition to your small business. Nonetheless, you will need to perceive {that a} non-compete clause is probably not affordable in all circumstances and/or industries. To make sure your non-compete clause offers you adequate authorized safety, contact an employment lawyer for related authorized recommendation.