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Q: What is a restrictive covenant? A: This is an agreement between an employer and an employee which is usually written as a clause in a contract of employment that restrains the employee from carrying out certain actions both during their employment with the employer and in the event that the employment ceases. Restrictive covenants usually seek to prevent an ex-employee from carrying out work that would directly compete with the employer, taking Company trade secrets and confidential information and soliciting the employer’s customers and/or employees. It is essentially a restraint of trade and can only be used to protect the legitimate interests of the employer. A court will consider the ex-employee’s right to trade and earn a living balanced against the employers right to protect its interests. Any restrictive covenant must be relevant, proportionate and reasonable and specifically relate to an individual employee.

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