An article of interest was shared with me recently highlighting how social media accounts can be restricted by the Restraint of Trade clause in the Individual Employment Agreements. I thought this would be of interest to a lot of business owners in our industry (and skin therapists as well!).

Having clear expectations in any job role is so critical for a long lasting and successful relationship between the business and its employees, but often times, it is an area that can be a little ‘fuzzy’. The Individual Employment Agreement can be perceived as a necessary formality (that is filed away the moment it is signed – not to be seen again!), but really, this is an extremely important contract between the organisation and its staff that ‘lays the ground rules’ and sets very clear expectations (especially when used in conjunction with an Employee Handbook and Job Description).

Take a moment to consider the average annual remuneration you pay your staff, and their average tenure of employment. Not an insignificant sum is it? This is a valuable investment that the business is making! Surely a contract worth this much money warrants the cost of involving a specialist HR lawyer and getting it right from the beginning? (And not just for employers, skin therapists – make sure you understand what you are signing! Seek the right advise and talk through the clauses with your prospective employer prior to signing the agreement.)

Over the years I’ve had a number of conversations with skin centre owners about their frustrations when a therapist leaves the business and takes the client base with them. While clients certainly have a right to decide where they take their business, there are provisions a business owner can take to protect their business and any ‘poaching’ of clients from their database. What I learned from the article below is that Facebook and LinkedIn can be ways for ex-staff members to (perhaps unwittingly) advertise their new place of work to any clients they engage with on social media. This risk can be mitigated through covering off social media status updates in the Restraint of Trade section of the Individual Employment Agreement.

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Bronwen Newcombe from Davenports Harbour Lawyers can be contacted for more information relating to Restraints of Trades and Individual Employment Agreements
(email: bronwen.newcombe@davenportsharbour.co.nz / Phone: 09 915 6140).