Q. I’m currently working for a large professional services firm and am considering setting up on my own and going contracting, focussing on similar role to those that I currently perform (project/programme/portfolio management, PMO etc.).
I’m keen to ascertain if there will be any restrictions to the potential clients I could approach in the future. I’ve unearthed my signed contract and can see that it says the following on the topic of restrictive covenants:
Accordingly, you agree that, for a period of six months after the date of termination of employment with [Company], you will not:
Canvass or solicit the business of any person, firm, company or other organisation who or which is or was at any time during the period of six months before the end of your active employment a client of [Company] with whom or which you had dealings in the 12 months prior to the end of your active employment with us.
My question is; can I therefore work for ANY current client of [Company], as long as I’ve not personally worked on an engagement with that client during the past 12 months?
A. Thank you for your query regarding restrictive covenants.
On the basis that the wording you have provided is the only restrictive covenant provision contained within the contract, we comment as follows:
The restriction is expressed to be valid for a period of 6 months following expiry/termination of the contract and essentially prohibits you from working directly for anyone who was a client of the agency during the last 6 months of your employment with the agency, and further, someone you had worked for/with during the last 12 months of your employment with the agency. On the basis that you have not worked for/with any client of the agency within the last 12 months of your employment with the agency, you may work directly with/for such client. Further, please note that 6 months following expiry/termination of the contract, the restriction will not apply at all.
As mentioned above, there may be other relevant provisions contained within the contract that we of course cannot comment on without having sight of the contract and reviewing the same in full. This would be outside the scope of this service but we can refer you to a solicitor should you wish.