Restrictive covenants – what you need to know in the medical device space

Charlotte Ashton, Senior Recruiter of Meditech at FMC Global Talent.
Charlotte Ashton, Account Manager, Meditech at FMC Global Talent.

Every business has information, data, and designs that they believe are integral to their success. In the medical tech world this is prevalent, especially at times of technological advancement.

They don’t want to give away their secrets, and rightfully so, why should they? So they put restrictive covenants in place.

However, we’ve experienced many candidates who are completely unaware that they have even signed a restrictive covenant clause, never mind what the implications are. Most people are quite comfortable with signing them but others may want to ask questions.

So here’s what you need to know…

It’s in the contract
You will sign a contract at the beginning of your employment, so read it thoroughly and see if there are any clauses that prohibit you from working at a competitor for a certain period of time after you leave the organisation. These are called non-competition covenants.

It can include customers
Restrictive covenants can also include interaction with customers, preventing you from soliciting or dealing with customers of the business once you have left. This is most common in positions where dealing with or selling to customers is the purpose of the role. These are called non-solicitation covenants or non-dealing covenants.

It can also include employees
Some also write in that employees can’t be poached by the individual once they move on. These are called non-poaching covenants.

Employers should be mindful
Clauses are very dependent on the role itself, and employers must consider things like the breadth of geographic area, length of contracts, types of activities and what information they are protecting. If you have a question for your situation, ask at the beginning of employment.

Don’t be rash
If you are in a position where you are considering a move but have a restrictive covenant in place with your current employer, don’t ignore it and make a bold move. You may risk your old employer bringing legal proceedings against you. This only happens occasionally, but you should know your rights and speak to an employment lawyer if you are worried.

If you’d like more information from the UK government, click here

Otherwise, happy job hunting!