Employment Restraints of Trade: An Empirical Study of Australian Court Judgments
Australian Journal of Labour Law, Vol. 29, No. 3, pp. 283-304, 2016
22 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2016
Date Written: December 20, 2016
Employment restraints of trade can discourage employees from leaving their position by restricting their ability to work in their chosen field for a period of time after their employment has ended. This is a contentious issue in terms of fairness between employers and employees. This article presents the findings of an empirical study of employment restraint of trade judgments of courts in Australia from 1989 to 2012. The authors analyse the volume and outcome of employment restraint of trade cases, comparing trends over time, across different jurisdictions in Australia, and across industries. They also analyse the proportion of all restraint of trade cases that are employment restraint of trade cases. Key findings include that employment restraints of trade are increasing as a proportion of all restraint of trade cases and that employment restraints of trade are found most frequently in the financial services and professional services industries. In addition, employers in the state of New South Wales have a significantly higher rate of success in enforcing employment restraints against their former employees than employers in other Australian jurisdictions.
Keywords: Restraints of trade, employment
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