Labour & Employment Law Blog

Can I be stopped from competing with a former employer or a business I recently sold?

Zeilikman Law

Zeilikman Law

Case Summary

Canada’s economic and commercial system seeks to encourage entrepreneurial competition and innovation. However, the law is not blind to the pitfalls of unfettered commercial activity amongst market players. Thus, it is often the case that business purchase and sale agreements include limitations on a vendor’s future activities upon a sale of business. In legal parlance, such limitations are called “restrictive covenants.” Generally speaking such covenants are considered by the courts as a restraint on trade and, as such, as against public policy. However, what if upon the sale of a business, the vendor opens another business of a similar kind to the one sold? The possibility exists for the purchaser to apply to the court to enforce the covenant (if one exists) so as to stop the vendor from inflicting economic harm on the purchaser.

The enforceability of these restrictive covenants is assessed on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the following considerations in mind:

  1. The party protected by the restrictive covenant must have a proprietary interest that warrants protection. In other words, a party seeking to enforce the covenant must be able to show that the scope of the prohibited activity is not overly road.
  2. The spatial and temporal protections must not be too broad. This means that an unreasonable limitation on how long the restrictions can last and how far, geographically, they can reach, will not be enforceable. Each case will turn on its own facts.
  3. The covenant must not be unenforceable as being against competition generally.

Restrictive covenants in a commercial context – for example, between two parties seeking to complete a transaction of a purchase and sale of a business – are viewed by the courts as more enforceable than restrictive covenants in an employment setting. This is because the law views the former scenario to involve parties of equal bargaining power. In an employment context, however, employees are usually viewed by the law as vulnerable individuals warranting of extra protection.

The above article is for general information purposes only, does not constitute legal advice or create a solicitor-client relationship. Because each case is unique and factually driven, if you have concerns with regard to the foregoing issues, please make an appointment with one of our lawyers or a qualified legal practitioner elsewhere. We represent clients in the Greater Toronto Area including Toronto, North York, Markham, Vaughan, Thornhill, Newmarket, Aurora, Brampton, Mississauga, Barrie, Ajax, Whitby, Pickering and Oshawa.

Legal Receptionist

Zeilikman Law is an employment law firm located in Vaughan, Ontario. We are looking to hire a legal receptionist to join our firm. Preference will be given to candidates who have experience working as a receptionist at another law firm.

Location: Vaughan, Ontario.

Start Date: Immediately.

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Full time. In-person only. This is not a remote work position.

Wages: 35,000 to 40,000 per year.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Manage our firm’s multi-line telephone system to receive incoming calls.  Screen incoming telephone call inquiries to determine the nature of the telephone call and provide standard information related to our legal services.  Take and deliver messages and route incoming telephone calls to the appropriate staff person.
  • Answer general inquiries coming from the firm’s social media and website email.
  • Welcome in-person visitors upon arrival.  Direct visitors to the appropriate staff person and / or office or boardroom.
  • Organize in-person visitor schedule to prevent overlap and multiple bookings.
  • Receive, sort, and distribute daily mail and deliveries.
  • Arrange for couriers.
  • Keep front reception, kitchenette area and boardroom tidy.
  • Perform various clerical duties such as filing, photocopying, and faxing on an as-needed basis.
  • Process client or other payments.
  • May be asked to run minor errands outside of office such as attending post office to arrange a courier or pick up mail.
  • May be asked to assist other law clerks or lawyers of the firm as required and as appropriate.
  • Any other basic administrative duties or tasks as deemed appropriate.

Required Skills:

  • Basic knowledge of general office procedures including filing, faxing, and printing and copying.
  • Basic word processing computer skills.
  • Proficient in receptionist and telephone practices, etiquette, and decorum.
  • Professional attitude and appearance.
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Positive customer service attitude is a must.
  • Must be able to maintain confidential and sensitive information.

Education and Experience:

  • Highschool diploma or equivalent.
  • 1 – 2 years’ experience in an office setting with an emphasis in accounting, reception or clerical work is required.   We would prefer experience in a law firm environment.

Applications for this position should be sent via email to jennifer@zeilikmanlaw.com. All applications should include a cover letter, resume and at least two references. Only successful candidates will be contacted.