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I am sorry to hear of this difficult situation.
Is your new employer in Canada or was this question placed on the wrong law list?
I will ask the site to move this to the UK law list.
Thank you for your enquiry. My name is ***** ***** I am a Solicitor. Ok, so firstly it is important to know that in the UK a non compete clause as you have mentioned is referred to as a post termination restrictive covenant. These clauses are contractual and highly enforceable, but it will depend on many factors such as the type of industry you are in and whether your employer is prepared to apply to court to enforce the terms of your contract. This is usually a costly and time consuming process so employers will have to think very carefully before taking this approach.
As an employee you are not obliged to accept any terms that you do not agree with, so you can challenge the need for a post termination restrictive covenant if you feel that it is overly restrictive. Remember that terms in employment contracts must be reasonable and your employer cannot impose overly onerous restrictions on you.
Failing to sign the agreement does not automatically make the term unenforceable. In the absence of a signature your employer can still apply to enforce the restrictive covenant by showing that you have implicitly agreed to the terms of the contract. For example, if you continue to work with the company for a period of time and comply with the other terms or fail to raise concerns about any terms in the contract then you may be considered to have given implied consent. Again, this will depend on how willing your employer is to enforce the terms of your contract.
My advice is to make any of your concerns known in writing and at the earliest possible opportunity. This way, if you were to leave and your employer was to make an attempt to enforce the terms of your contract you can show the court that you took steps to dispute the restrictive covenant.
Thank you for your response. If your former employer has not contacted you already then it is unlikely you will receive a cease and desist (in the UK this is called an injunction). As I mentioned above, the onus is on your former employer to take action regarding any restrictive covenants in your contract.
yes, a text message is a good indicator of their intention but as I have mentioned above this is a very costly and time consuming process so if I were you I would hold off taking any action until you receive any court paperwork. Many employers will threaten this course of action, but in reality a commercial decision will be taken and if the legal costs are likely to outweigh the actual cost of you breaching the term then they may decide not to take any action at all.