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Old 14.10.2015, 16:01
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how to understand this non-competition term

found a term in the employment agreement, but totally confused. Does it mean I may not work with PLC for 2 years after leaving this company?


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For a period of two (2) years following the Employee’s last full day of employment with the company occasioned by whatever reason, the Employee covenants that he/she shall not, directly or indirectly operate, be employed in, be a partner or shareholder of, act as agent or consultant or contractor for:

(a) any industrial computer programmer; or

(b) any programmable logic controller (PLC); or

(c) any system integrator; or

(d) any customer of the company or an Affiliate,

anywhere in canton Zurich, without the prior permission of the company, which permission may be withheld.
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Old 14.10.2015, 16:18
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Re: how to understand this non-competition term

Nothing confusing about it. Yes, you cannot work with PLC for 2 years if the employment is based anywhere in canton Zurich. If you want to work in that area in that canton then you have to ask permission from your previous employer who may or may not decide to grant it. If you find a job outside of canton Zurich then no problem and no permission needed.
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Old 14.10.2015, 16:32
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Re: how to understand this non-competition term

In reality, you go to the RAV once you lose or quit your job, show them the contract terms stating who you can and can't work for (bearing in mind that they're contract terms in a contract you've just had terminated) and they'll tell you to ignore it.

I'll be keen to know if the RAV has ever put that advice in writing and/or promised to back you up on the off-chance your ex employer decides to take you to court.
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Old 14.10.2015, 16:44
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Re: how to understand this non-competition term

Agree. It would be extraordinary to be able to have that clause upheld, as it limits your ability to have a livelihood which is a pretty basic human right. Does the colntract specify damages you may have agreed to?
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Old 14.10.2015, 16:49
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Re: how to understand this non-competition term

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I'll be keen to know if the RAV has ever put that advice in writing and/or promised to back you up on the off-chance your ex employer decides to take you to court.
I read some articles about this as I was wondering about my own contract a while back: in principle are these terms legal as long as they are "reasonable" which the Swiss courts in the past defined as "not stopping a person from finding employement completely". A term which would limit the OP from working in his field in Switzerland would be illegal. One that is limited to the canton of Zurich however seems quite reasonable to me given that the canton ends just a few km west of the city and 20 or so south of it...
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Old 14.10.2015, 16:57
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Re: how to understand this non-competition term

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I read some articles about this as I was wondering about my own contract a while back: in principle are these terms legal as long as they are "reasonable" which the Swiss courts in the past defined as "not stopping a person from finding employement completely". A term which would limit the OP from working in his field in Switzerland would be illegal. One that is limited to the canton of Zurich however seems quite reasonable to me given that the canton ends just a few km west of the city and 20 or so south of it...
I was going to post the same thing. "Reasonable" is a massive variable in such cases - in a small village "reasonable" may mean you could open the same busines in the next village but not the same village, but in a large village it could be seen as within 1 part of the village. If the industry in which you work is centred on a particular region (for example only kanton zurich) it would be unreasonable.
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Old 14.10.2015, 17:07
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Re: how to understand this non-competition term

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I read some articles about this as I was wondering about my own contract a while back: in principle are these terms legal as long as they are "reasonable" which the Swiss courts in the past defined as "not stopping a person from finding employement completely". A term which would limit the OP from working in his field in Switzerland would be illegal. One that is limited to the canton of Zurich however seems quite reasonable to me given that the canton ends just a few km west of the city and 20 or so south of it...
Except that the canton probably includes about half the high-tech jobs in Switzerland, so the geographic limit is not representative of the impact.

There's a whole thread here Validity of non competition clause in Switzerland which concludes much the same as here - they may be legal, but the RAV will take a dim view of them if too restrictive, and in any case probably un-enforceable.

One interesting question is what exactly the company would legally do? They could take you to court, maybe you get found guilty - and then what? Unless they can prove specific damages, they have no claim (worst case they could say you aren't fulfilling your contract and sack/stop paying you - doh, you already left), and unless they can clearly prove probable future damage I can't see the court making you unemployed.
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Old 14.10.2015, 17:12
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Re: how to understand this non-competition term



I agree with the adrianlondon and alemap. The only exception could be, which you don’t disclose, is if they have actually paid you for the non-compete. So if part of the remuneration was dedicated for the non-compete payment, if yes, then they can actually enforce it a lot easier.

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Old 14.10.2015, 19:44
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Re: how to understand this non-competition term

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One interesting question is what exactly the company would legally do? They could take you to court, maybe you get found guilty - and then what? Unless they can prove specific damages, they have no claim (worst case they could say you aren't fulfilling your contract and sack/stop paying you - doh, you already left), and unless they can clearly prove probable future damage I can't see the court making you unemployed.
In some cases they have penalty clauses that apply regardless of actual damages. I can't say from first-hand experience if this is actually enforceable.
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