There are several types of restrictive covenant that an employer can include in your employment contract:
This clause restricts you from working for a competitor, or setting up a competing business, and seeks to prevent you from taking confidential or valuable information to that competitor, which could give them an unfair advantage. These tend to specify a certain amount of time after you have left your employer; often three to six months.
This clause restricts you from approaching your ex-employer’s clients and prospective clients, normally specifying clients you have formed relationships with in a time period leading up to the termination of your employment. Typically these are also six to twelve months.
This clause is an extension of the non-solicitation clause preventing you from dealing with previous clients or contacts at all, whether you approach them or they approach you. Again, six to twelve months is a frequent period attached to such a restriction.
This clause applies the same principles as the non-solicitation clause, but applies to taking former colleagues with you to the competing business or your new business. The clause usually applies to senior staff and those who may have been your peers. The six to twelve month time limit is usually applied.
Once you have handed in your notice, under this clause your employer would prevent you from coming into the office, and could stop you working but you retain full pay. This is designed to remove your access to those clients, contacts and employees protected against in the previous clauses. To achieve this, employees will also be required to give back items such as laptops, mobile phones etc. Generally the six to twelve month restrictions will be shortened by a period of garden leave.