Monday, December 20, 2010

Employer can’t ask a ban on a worker if he fails the contractual obligations

Non-competition clause does not apply if employer fails the contract, the clause included in employment contracts to prevent an employee from working for a competitor does not apply if the employer does not meet the contract obligations, said a senior Ministry of Labour official.
The clause included in employment contracts to prevent an employee from working for a competitor does not apply if the employer does not meet the contract obligations, said a senior Ministry of Labour official.
Humaid Bin Deemas, Acting Director General at the ministry, said that an employer cannot ask to enforce a ban on a worker who joined a competitor if he did not fulfil his contractual obligations.
Deemas was commenting on an employer who asked the ministry to enforce a ban on one of his previous employees because he broke the non competition clause but the ministry refused as the employer did not meet his contractual obligations according to a court ruling.
Restriction to freedom
"The non competition clause is a restriction to the worker's freedom therefore they are several rules that limit the use of the competition clause," said Deemas adding that it should not be applied without regulations. The non competition clause should not be applied for anybody who is below 21 years, it should only be applied for jobs in which the employee would have had access to the company's secrets or acquainted with its clients.
Also it should be only for a limited time period, according to article 127 in the labour law.
There are 2800 professions registered at the ministry of labour out of which only some can have a non competition clause to be included in the employment contract, according to Deemas. "It is important to understand that the non competition clause cannot be used merely as a mean to prevent the movement of workers and cannot be applied for all job categories." said Deemas. "The real purpose of the clause is to safeguard the employer's lawful interests," said Deemas.
"If a non competition clause is applied for example for constructions workers it is immediately considered not valid as the nature of the job does not enable the worker not have access on companies' secrets or make him interact with its clients," he said.

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