Non-Compete Agreements

  • Employment Contract
Non-Compete Agreement
Peninsula Logo

Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

(Last updated )

It’s never ideal when a valued member of staff leaves your business, especially if they move to a competitor. Read our guide on non-compete agreements for more information.

It’s never ideal when a valued member of staff leaves your business, especially when it's to set up on their own or to join a competitor.

Due to this, many organisations will have a non-compete agreement in place to protect their business’s interests.

What is it?

Including a non-compete agreement clause in employees’ contracts will enable you to prevent them from working for a competitor for a pre-determined amount of time.

This non-compete confidentiality agreement is designed to protect valuable information, such as client lists or business secrets, being immediately used against the company.

How long can it last?

Employees who sign this are required to abide by its restrictions, which usually last between 3-12 months.

It’s also possible to include a geographic limitation that prevents former employees from working for a competitor that’s located nearby and may, therefore, be in direct competition for work.

How common are non-compete agreements?

The truth is, they are extremely common, especially in the contracts of senior employees, although it is also possible to include these in the contracts of the entire workforce.

They also tend to be more prevalent amongst those working in the highly competitive legal or financial sectors, where losing an employee to a competitor can have a significant impact, especially if they are able to poach clients or use valuable intellectual capital to their advantage.

Testing reasonableness

Are non-compete agreements enforceable in the UK? Yes, providing they’re reasonable.

To rely on a company non-compete agreement you will need to be able to show that it is designed to protect a legitimate business interest and goes no further than is reasonably necessary.

Usually, an agreement will be limited in terms of what activities are restricted, how long it lasts for and its geographical scope.

If either of these are deemed wider than necessary, then you’ll be unable to enforce the non-compete agreement - UK law will consider it void.

What happens if they violate it?

Violating non-compete agreements is a breach of a legal contract, which means you will be able to seek an injunction as long as the agreement was reasonable in the first place.

You should write to the court in the hope that they uphold the conditions of the agreement and order the employee to leave their new employer, or cease operating their own business in competition.

In some circumstances, you may even be able to seek financial compensation from the former employee for profits lost due to the breach of the non-compete agreement.

However, this’ll require you to show that there was an actual loss, which may be difficult to prove.

Need our help?

If you’re looking to protect valuable business assets, then get in touch for immediate assistance on this issue. Contact us on 0800 028 2420 and book a free consultation with an HR consultant today.

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the latest news & tips to help you stay safe and successful


Got a question? Check whether we’ve already answered it for you…

Related articles

  • A cafe worker handing food and drink to customer smiling


    National Living Wage

    In this guide, we'll discuss what the National Living Wage is, what employees are entitled to, and the consequences of incorrectly paying wages.

    Peninsula TeamPeninsula Team
    • Pay & Benefits
  • a woman and a man high fiving by a window



    Read our guide on EAP’s. Discover what they are, what they include, and the benefits it can bring to your company.

    Peninsula GroupHR and Health & Safety Experts
    • Pay & Benefits
  • A woman typing into a calculator at a desk


    Salary Sacrifice

    In this guide, we'll discuss what a salary sacrifice is, the different salary sacrifice schemes, and its advantages and disadvantages.

    Peninsula TeamPeninsula Team
    • Pay & Benefits
Back to resource hub

Try Brainbox for free today

When AI meets 40 years of Peninsula expertise... you get instant, expert answers to your HR and Health & Safety questions

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the latest news & tips that matter most to your business in our monthly newsletter.