Competition ban must be precise

Publication / 15.11.2018

In its decision of May 10, 2018, issued in the case ref. no. II PK 319/17, the Supreme Court expressed the view that definition of the scope of non-competition ban concerning former employee should be precise enough to avoid doubts whether the former employee is bound by the non-competition ban only in that area of the employer’s activity in which he/she has particularly important information, or whether he/she is obliged to refrain from competition in all spheres of the former employer’s activity.

At the same time, the Supreme Court emphasized that in a situation where the ban stipulated in the contract is intended to apply to engaging in competitive activities only in a certain territory of the employer’s operations, an expansive interpretation of such a defined content of the contract cannot be made even in the event of a change in the employing entity.

In fact, referring to the disposition of Article 1012 § 1 of the Labor Code of June 26, 1974 ( Dz.U. of 2018, item 917), the Supreme Court stressed that the ban on competition is established in the interest of the employer, but nevertheless, when shaping it, the factor of protecting the employee from unjustified restriction of his/her freedom in the scope of employment undertaken cannot be overlooked.