Can you join your Competitor after resigning?

Working for Competitor?

I have been asked many times about working for a competitor after resignation by readers. Today I would like to educate you on this. UAE Labour Law is fair to employee and employers. There are rights mentioned for both the parties. This is the reason you should make a point to read and understand your rights as per UAE Labour Law.

Article 127 – Trade Secret

Lot of companies in UAE have contracts and work that will put the employees in close proximity to clients and business secrets. In many cases this comes down to the survival of the business. In such case if an employee resigns and joins a competitor, your company may be at the receiving end as this may affect the business. Therefore, UAE Labour Law provides to protect the right of the employer.

When you sign your contract, your employer in most cases will mention this that after your resignation, you may not work for a competitor or start a business in the same/similar industry. This is mentioned in the Article 127 of the UAE Labour Law.

work for competitor company

However, as an employee, you are provided your rights as well. The agreement should be specific as to place, time and nature of work. For example, this can not be enforced worldwide or even within UAE it needs to specific to places like Dubai, Abu Dhabi or there should be a maximum term like 6 months or 1 year up to which you will not be able to start a similar business or join a competitor.

This mostly happens in Technical industries, Banks where the stakes of businesses are very high and dependent on information and technology. However, this is not limited to particular industries.

Why companies do this?

First reason is obvious; you may have information of your companies clients which are crucial to companies business;

Secondly, you also may have knowledge of business process, suppliers which took your company many years to achieve and if someone steals the idea, it works as a detrimental factor;

Thirdly, your company spends sizeable amount of money and resources on your training. Hence, they have interest to retain you and if that is not possible, restrict you from joining competitors.

Can my employer sue me if I join a competitor?

Yes, as per the law, your employer can sue you under below circumstances:

  • You have joined a company which is directly associated with the same kind of business like your previous company;
  • Your new designation at your new company is similar to the one at your previous company;
  • When you joined the new company, it has actually caused damage to your previous employer in the form of financial losses, loss of client or loss of confidentiality pertaining to trade secrets;
  • You have signed an offer letter/ Contract which mentions the non compete clause and that you have agreed not to join your competitor.

So if you have plans to leave the job to join a competitor, your company can restrict this lawfully if their interests are affected.

About Deepak 505 Articles
Deepak is a passionate blogger with interests in bitcoin, online marketing, and writing.

14 Comments

  1. Mr. Deepak,

    the employer filed an abscoding complaint to us in MOL, we appealed in the court and and settled. the court said to our employer that she needs to lift the absconding complaint since we showed to all our court hearing. we filed in the tasheel for the withdrawing of the abscon complaint but the employer said to us that she will not remove the abscon complaint if we will not sign an aggreement that we are not allowed to work with the same line of business. but before we join in the company, we didnt sign any non compete clause.

    hope to hear from you soon.

    Ms. Tammy

    • Tammy, what sort of work were you doing? Was it strategic or senior level management wherein you had strategy insight?
      I believe what your employer is seeking is beyond what is understandable!
      Non compete clause should be signed in the beginning of employment and not after resignation!

      • Sir,
        many thanks for your quick response, my work is sales executive to an office supplies, my concern now if the absconding complaint will be withdraw since we settled already in the court and the case is dismissed since we showed up to our all our court hearings.

        many thanks again.

      • Mr. Deepak,

        my work is sales executive to an office supplies, my concern now is the absconding complaint the employer filed to me. is this will be withdraw since we showed to all court hearings.

        please advice.

  2. Hi Sir
    They can sue you even you are not sign any competitor clause on your contract..?
    Or they can sue you only if you have a non competitor agreement as mentioned in yiur contract?

  3. what should be a maximum term for an employer to put in non-competitor clause, either leaving the company or while renewing the Visa.

  4. Suppose it’s my time for annual leave and on the same time if I will resign the job then will I be able to get my leave salary or no?

  5. Hi
    I would like to know if there is the competitor clause in the job offer letter but not in the contract is that applicable and if you join non free zone then? please need advice thanks

  6. Hi,
    I have renewed my visa after completing my first visa successfully in LLC company in DUBAI.my new visa
    has been renewed about 9 months ago but now I want to resign my job due to family issues, am I liable to pay
    any penalties for the company plz reply.

    • If you are in Limited Contract of employment you have to compensate employer if you are resigning.

  7. Hi,
    I have been working for LLC company in Sharjah from which I have resigned in August 2015. I have joined a free zone company after that. My old company has filed a complaint against me in MOL for non competent clause which was is my labor contract.
    My question is that whether the non competent clause is valid even if I join a free zone company?

    Please advise ASAP.
    Thanks.

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