Published in the FT
Aimee Keane’s excellent article “Non-compete clauses spark American backlash” (8 August 2016) highlights an important question for any job seeker in the US or the UK – why agree to a non-compete clause unless your employer is willing to carry on paying you during the period of restriction? I suspect that many employers are either unable, or more likely unwilling, to provide a sensible response to such a straightforward question.
Perhaps it is time for the UK courts to redress the current imbalance between employers and prospective employees and to outlaw unpaid post-employment restrictive covenants whilst permitting a period of paid garden leave.
UK lawyers could form the vanguard of a rebellion against non-compete clauses and take a lead from their US counterparts. Rule 5.6 of the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct states that a lawyer shall not participate in an agreement that restricts his or her right to practise after termination of employment or in any similar arrangement. Where the US leads…