It is common for employers to want to protect their business interests from unfair competition by current and ex-employees. This applies especially to employees who have knowledge of sensitive and valuable information, have considerable influence over the workforce or have strong customer connections. However, at the same time it is in the public interest to ensure that employees are free to move between employers and use their skills, knowledge and experience in a new setting.
Whilst employers try and impose certain restrictions on their employees, under the doctrine of restraint of trade, any contractual term which seeks to restrict an individual's freedom to work for others or carry out his trade or business is illegal and unenforceable. The exception is when the employer can show it has a legitimate business interest that requires protection.
Legitimate business interests (LBIs) are commonly accepted to include:
An employer cannot impose a restrictive covenant merely to stop someone competing, but it can seek to stop that person using or damaging something which legitimately belongs to it, such as an LBI.
Non-competition covenants will generally be unenforceable, unless the employer can justify their use. As a matter of general law, once they leave employees are restricted from disclosing confidential information amounting to a trade secret. As with non-solicitation covenants, the restriction must be for a limited time. The geographical extent of the limitation must also be considered. Worldwide or covenants without limits have been held to be unenforceable, but more specific restrictions can be enforceable if considered reasonable in the circumstances.
In your case there was no geographical extent of the restriction and such a wide covenant is likely to be unenforceable. However, one potential issue is whether the pricing strategy you have used is something that can be considered a trade secret or confidential information belonging to that particular employer and whether you should not have used it for your own gain and especially to act in competition with them.
Please let me know if this has answered your query or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this?
I hope this has answered your query and would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating - your question will not close and I can continue providing further advice if necessary. Thank you
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).