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I'm currently working as a cloud engineer in a cloud consultancy company and when I joined the company as part of my contract there was a non-compete clause forbidding me to carry on a business or work for a business identical or similar to the business of the company within European Union. My company in a nutshell does cloud infrastructure and software development projects(short and long term) for other companies and also provides managed services for their infrastructure.

Here's the non-compete clause:

Within a period of one year after termination of the employment the Employee may not in the European Union, in any way, directly or indirectly, carry on a business, work for a business or be involved in a business, in the broadest sense of the word, which is identical to or similar to the business of "company name", nor may the Employee have such business conducted or have a financial or other interest in such business.

I would like to start freelancing working as a cloud engineer for companies who are not competitors and I'm wondering if I would be in breach of my contract if I work with businesses who do not offer the above services and are not competing with my current company.

One could say by doing freelance work as a cloud engineer, I would be running a business that provides cloud infrastructure services similar to my company.

By doing freelance work with non competing companies, would I be in breach my contract? Would that include companies outside of European Union with my business registered in Netherlands?

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    This website implies that the non-compete clause has to have some restrictions like a time period. All of EU also seems to be onerous.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Aug 23, 2022 at 23:07
  • You might want to post the exact clause. The validity of overly broad clauses is questionable. Commented Aug 23, 2022 at 23:12
  • @mkennedy It is limited to 1 year.
    – user46504
    Commented Aug 24, 2022 at 7:30

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After talking to a lawyer I have found that if a non-compete can prevent one completely to use their skills freelance or not, it would be too broad and unreasonable.

My lawyer's opinion would be, in the case that I wouldn't be working with competitors or using company secrets to gain advantage this broad clause would be difficult to enforce and risky to take to court.

Of course his suggestion was to talk to employer which their corporate lawyer would suggest waiving the non-compete partially, but if the employer is not cooperative, going to court to ask a judge to reduce the scope of it is a possibility.

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