Where a contract of employment contains provisions will purport to entitle an employer to terminate a restrained employee’s employment with a brief notice only it is less likely that a restraints of trade will be upheld as reasonable.
“In the circumstances set out above, the disparity between the notice period of one month during the probationary period and a minimum restraint period of 12 months is relevant to an assessment of the reasonableness of a restraint. The disparity is such that the restraint, even if it be confined to the minimum period of 12 months, is unreasonable. It goes beyond that which is reasonable to protect JGL’s legitimate interests. On the one hand, JGL reserved to itself the right to terminate Ms Peck’s employment on one month’s notice within a short period of her commencing employment. On the other hand, it reserved to itself the right to impose wide ranging restrictions upon her capacity to earn a livelihood for a period of 12 months.”
Just Group Limited v Peck (2016) VSC 614 delivered 17 October 2016 per McDonald J