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What is a non-competition clause?

A non-competition clause is a special provision in an employment contract that limits your options after the employment contract between you and your employer has ended. For example, a non-competition clause can limit you in the work that you are allowed to perform for a new employer, as well as in the sector or the type of company where you want to work. The region where your new employer may or may not be located can also be included in a non-competition clause. If you start for yourself, a non-competition clause can limit you in the type of business you want to set up.

It is not possible to include a non-competition clause in a temporary contract, with one exception: when your employer can demonstrate that there are compelling business or service interests. In such a case, the clause is only valid when the motivation, which is added to the contract, is sufficiently described.

Can my employer agree on a non-competition clause with me?

Yes. An employer may agree a non-competition clause with you, provided this is done under certain conditions. For example, a non-competition clause is only valid if it has been agreed in writing and when you as an employee are of age. Furthermore, a non-competition clause may only be included in employment contracts for an indefinite period.

Including a non-competition clause in a contract for a definite period is only allowed if your employer provides a written motivation for the compelling business or service interests that make the non-competition clause necessary for you. In the absence of this motivation, a non-competition clause in a temporary contract is invalid (null and void).

Please note: agreements may be made in your collective labor agreement that stipulate that no competition clause may be included for specific positions, regardless of the duration of your contract.

What can I do to get rid of my non-competition clause?

It may happen that you want to get rid of your non-competition clause. You want to work for another party, or maybe you want to start your own business. When making this decision, it is first of all important to check whether the included non-competition clause is legally valid.

If this is the case, you can do the following: you will consult with your employer to reach an agreement about the expiry of your non-competition clause, or you go to court for a request to limit or annul the clause in question. For example, for a period of six months instead of a year, restriction of the region and / or a list of names of companies to which the non-competition clause would apply.

In the event of a conversation with your employer, it is wise to speak openly. Put your interests on the table and let the employer tell his story. This may lead to the cancellation of the non-competition clause, but also to a non-competition clause - a form of a non-competition clause in which agreements are made about relationships of your employer with whom you are not allowed to maintain contact after your employment.

Are you and your employer unable to resolve the matter? Then you can consider starting legal proceedings. The judge gives a judgment on the validity of the non-competition clause, whereby the interests of the employee and the interests of the employer are carefully weighed against each other.

What is the difference between a non-competition clause and a ban on ancillary activities?

The main difference between a non-competition clause and a prohibition on ancillary activities is in fact that a ban on ancillary activities applies during your employment contract, where a non-competition clause applies after the expiry of your employment contract.

Ancillary activities are activities that you perform in addition to your job. Ancillary activities can involve both paid and unpaid work, including voluntary work. A non-competition clause is a provision in an employment contract that restricts you from working for a competitor.


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