Wednesday’s Australian Financial Review (Workspace) and Recruiter Daily, both reported a similar story about “Employers cracking down on restraint-of-trade breaches”.
The stories were the results of recently released information from Harmer Workplace Lawyers, which discussed a sharp rise in the number of legal cases filed over the past six months as companies seek to aggressively challenge claims from outgoing employees, and stop their client base from leaving with departing employees.
“Tougher economic conditions usually result in an increase in litigation, and that is exactly what we have seen recently. During the boom times, often employers had been willing to sign ‘blank cheques’ in order to settle claims quickly, or they tended to disregard breaches of restraint of trade conditions. Now, however, they appear to be prepared to litigate more vehemently,” said Shana Schreier-Joffe, Partner at Harmers Workplace Lawyers.
The articles also discussed the expectation that 2010 will bring in a raft of workplace legal challenges from two main sources:
- employers trying to protect their client base as employees depart for new positions through enforcement contractual restraint-of-trade clauses, and
- employee instigated litigation for bullying, harassment and discrimination, as the new Fair Work Act comes into force from 1 January 2010.