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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been working with a global consulting firm in Abu Dhabi for 3.5 years now. My employment contract contains a non-compete clause which states that I cannot work with a competitor or client operating in the place of work specified in employment agreement (which is Abu Dhabi).

Recently I have come across openings in a couple of big 4s (in Dubai) including one of my previous employer and was wondering if the non-compete clause would be applicable in Dubai as well since the emirate is not explicitly mentioned.

The firm's legal name in Abu Dhabi is different than its name in Dubai. Does that make any difference since I signed the contract with the firm in Abu Dhabi?

From looking up on google I found that non-compete clause in an "agreement shall only be valid if the employee has reached the age of 21 years at the time of its being executed and if the agreement is limited with respect to the place, time and nature of work to the extent as is necessary to safeguard the lawful interest of business".

My legalese is not that great so was looking for a few pointers.
 

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It's applicable but way too difficult/costly/time consuming to enforce.

The companies here have accepted that people go to and come from competitors all the time. It's kind of a zero sum game where they lose your knowledge/contacts to a competitor but at the same time add knowledge/contacts from someone who they hire from one of their competing firms.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It's applicable but way too difficult/costly/time consuming to enforce.

The companies here have accepted that people go to and come from competitors all the time. It's kind of a zero sum game where they lose your knowledge/contacts to a competitor but at the same time add knowledge/contacts from someone who they hire from one of their competing firms.
Thanks for the reply. I wouldn't really want to take any chances, if it is applicable :(

I do wonder who can I work with then since all the major companies (government and private) that one can think of here in the UAE can be counted as a client of the firm.
 

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Hi,
Non-compete is very complex here.
If you currently work for a private company in Abu Dhabi and then go and work for a direct competitor of your current company, also in Abu Dhabi - then your company would (rightly) by upset and try to invoke the anti-compete clause through the courts.
If you go and work directly for the government - then as far as I understand the anti-compete clause then does not apply. This is for two reasons - firstly you are not transferring to a commercial organisation that could be competing with your existing company and secondly you are going to work for a monopoly - the government is not considered a commercial organisation and in its own country does not have "competitors".
Cheers
Steve
 

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It's applicable but way too difficult/costly/time consuming to enforce.

The companies here have accepted that people go to and come from competitors all the time. It's kind of a zero sum game where they lose your knowledge/contacts to a competitor but at the same time add knowledge/contacts from someone who they hire from one of their competing firms.
and companies DO enforce it.

Like others have mentioned, it is complex. I got (unpaid/informal) legal advice on this, and the conclusion was that in my case it could be valid (since it specified a time period, and geography). I am not sure that the government angle comes into play as far as the law is concerned - I was told that in my case it did not (though when joining a govt. company labour ban is irrelevant).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi,
Non-compete is very complex here.
If you currently work for a private company in Abu Dhabi and then go and work for a direct competitor of your current company, also in Abu Dhabi - then your company would (rightly) by upset and try to invoke the anti-compete clause through the courts.
If you go and work directly for the government - then as far as I understand the anti-compete clause then does not apply. This is for two reasons - firstly you are not transferring to a commercial organisation that could be competing with your existing company and secondly you are going to work for a monopoly - the government is not considered a commercial organisation and in its own country does not have "competitors".
Cheers
Steve
As I mentioned the openings are in Dubai and the contract mentions that the place of work to be Abu Dhabi. Hence I have been wondering whether the clause will be applicable.

Two years is a very long time!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
and companies DO enforce it.

Like others have mentioned, it is complex. I got (unpaid/informal) legal advice on this, and the conclusion was that in my case it could be valid (since it specified a time period, and geography). I am not sure that the government angle comes into play as far as the law is concerned - I was told that in my case it did not (though when joining a govt. company labour ban is irrelevant).
Am sure companies do enforce it since most of the companies (read managers, owners etc.) I've seen here seem to be very vindictive in nature.
 

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If your contract is not clear on the geography why not get legal advice?
while your employer won't be able to get a labour ban, they might pursue a civil case.
 
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