Areas of Law / Employment

I have just left a firm where I worked for ten years in order to join a competitor. Five years ago I was bullied into signing a contract which barred me from contacting any of their customers within six months of leaving their employment, and I have already received a letter from their solicitors reminding me of this. Can my previous firm hold me to this?

The courts don’t much like these restrictions, known as “covenants in restraint of trade” because they limit the individual’s freedom to find employment as they choose. However the clause in your contract doesn’t bar you from working for a competitor for six months, but only from attempting to poach your previous firm’s customers. It’s not stopping you approaching their potential customers. I think the courts might well uphold this, so you should tread carefully.

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