Published in the FT

Dear Sir

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…

Dean Fuller
Senior Associate