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 LawOpens in a new tab. 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.


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

40 thoughts on “Can you join your Competitor after resigning?

  1. Hi, I was working with an international consulting firm on projects across the Middle East. My employment contract is through the Qatar office. I am currently in the process of moving with a competitor, but will be based out of the UAE. To what extent does the noncompete apply?

    1. HI, The applicability of the non-compete clause depends on the terms in your contract; consult with a legal professional for advice tailored to your situation and the specific terms of the agreement.

  2. Thank You Deepak for the article.
    What will happen in the following case.
    1. If I join the the competitor company with competitor payrole (i.e, labor contract with new competitor company) and visa is provided by third party agent
    2. If I join the the competitor company with competitor company as an outsourced employee. Both visa and employment contract is provided by third party payrole company.

    1. Hi,
      1. Joining a competitor with a new visa from a third party might break non-compete rules. Be cautious.
      2. Joining as an outsourced employee through a third party to a competitor could also violate non-compete terms. Check your contracts and get legal advice.

  3. Hi, I resigned from my company and joined a competitor. I informed them everything and even showed my offer letter, to explain and have their approval for me to leave since I know that I am not allowed to work with the same competing business. After speaking with the management, they agreed to release me and allowed me to work. However, now that I am asking for Employment Certificate, they don’t want to give it and says it is because of Article 127. They allowed me to work but the Employment Certificate, they will not give. Is there any way I can push my previous employer to give the certificate? Because I really need it for my present employer and will not hire me if I will not be able to provide it.

    1. You can try reaching out to your previous employer again and explain that you need the certificate to provide it to your current employer. If they still refuse, you can try contacting the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE). They have a complaints and suggestions section on their website where you can submit your complaint.
      And also, if you got any proof of your agreement with your previous employer, such as emails or written correspondence, you could use that to support your case.

    2. What that employer can do if I Join new company competition what will be the happen

      1. Hi, If you’re thinking of joining a new company while on a visa sponsored by your current employer, be sure to check your employment contract for non-competition clauses and notice period requirements. Joining a competitor or leaving abruptly could result in legal issues with your current employer and potential complications for your visa status.

  4. Hi,
    I worked with an abaya brand in dubai the company was big since 2011 and has blue tick on instagram, they terminated me in 6th month june it was my probation period,

    after that i joined another abaya company which is just startup in 2021 and one year old and different brand image there designs and style everything is different. now my previous company has put a complaint against me that i am working with a competitive brand. i cant work in the same business.

    please suggest me what should i do now?

    1. Hi, Was there in clause mentioned in your previous employment regarding non competition?

  5. Hi,
    i have been worked in supermarket for 4 years as a shop assistant, now i finished my contract, and company took a signature in a agreement that i could not work with the competitors for 3 years, so now im getting a job offer in general trading company, so previous company can make a case on me? is that supermarket and general trading companies are competitors??

    1. Hi, i don’t think your company can make a case on this. However, i would suggest you to check if the general trading company is falling under the competitors list for your supermarket.

  6. Non-competitor clause – What are employee rights as per law.
    How the employee will survive for two years, if he cannot work for two years in the field in which he is proficient? as other industries won’t hire a fresher.

    1. Hi, A Non-Compete Clause (NCC) is a legally binding agreement in which an employee agrees not to work for a rival business or to begin a related trade or profession for a certain period of time after leaving his current employer.
      As per the Article 12 of the Executive Regulations also provides details on when the non-compete clause will not be applicable. These include the following:
      If the worker or the new employer pays the previous employer compensation not exceeding three months of the worker’s wage as agreed upon in the last contract, subject to the previous employer’s written consent thereto.
      If the contract is terminated during the probationary period.
      Any professional categories that are in demand in the national labour market and determined by resolution of the Minister in accordance with the workers’ classification approved by the Cabinet.

  7. Dear Sir,

    My husband has been working for almost 5 years as Sales manager. He has an offer with a competitor. In his old contract, no non-compete clause is mentioned. Will he be sued for this?

    Please advise.


  8. HI,

    I was recently told that my employer would file a case on me because I worked with their competitor. My contract (the MOL) doesn’t show any clause for it. Can I work with employer who was previously client for my company? and can they file case on me?

    1. Hi, please refer your internal employment contact if there is any non competition clause.

  9. Dear Sir,

    I was working as a sales representative for medical-dental supplies in Dubai. I completed my 2 years contract with them. But in my contract, it was mentioned the second party cannot work with a competitor in UAE for 2 years after resignation or cancellation according to article 127
    I worked with them for 2 years. My contract was completed in 2020 September. Now I have a job offer from a similar job file from a company from Dubai. So can I work with them? My question is my previous employer can stop me from working in a competitor. ? ( i had completed 2 years full contract period with them)

    Please advise me
    Thank you

    1. Is your position strategy to company? Do you work in senior position with strategic business information? Non-compete clauses are a common employment contract feature in the UAE agreed upon between an employer and an employee. but there are limitations.

      1. Dear Deena

        Can you please confirm that Article 127 is applicable at the time of resign or company terminate or 2 years contract is finished and renewing it
        When Article 127 applicable


  10. Hi ,
    My name is Jitendra , I have completed 2 years contract with Pvt LLc dubai company, I could get job opportunity with competitors only .
    In my contract I was written that I can not work with competitors for 2 years.
    So, what I have to do , shall I say good bye to previous experience and become a fresher to look job in new field or I can start my own business similar with my employer .
    Or my my could open a trading licence , where she shall sponser me to work in that field.
    So many confusions in my mind.
    Kindly advice
    Thanks and regards
    Jitendra Talreja

  11. hi sir,i ask about same competitor because my previous company she give a case to me claiming commitment to the non competition clause.even my 2 years contract is finish,the ajman branch is already close?thank you in advance for your answer

  12. 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

    1. 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!

      1. 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.

      2. 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,i ask about same competitor because my previous company she give a case to me claiming commitment to the non competition clause.even my 2 years contract is finish,the ajman branch is already close?thank you in advance for your answer

      1. Is your position strategy to company? Do you work in senior position with strategic business information?

  13. 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?

  14. Hi Sir
    They can sue you even you are not sign any competitor clause on your contract..?

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

  16. 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?

  17. 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

  18. Hi,
    I have renewed my visa after completing my first visa successfully in LLC company in 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.

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

  19. 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.

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