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Förbud mot konkurrerande verksamhet och konkurrensklausuler - En arbetsrättslig och associationsrättslig analys

Åberg, Michelle LU (2014) JURM02 20141
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Uppsatsens syfte är att göra en intern komparation mellan arbetsrätten och associationsrätten avseende lojalitetsplikter och konkurrensklausuler. För att uppnå syftet kommer omfattningen av förbud mot konkurrerande verksam-het, som ett led av lojalitetsplikten såväl inom arbetsrätt och associationsrätt att utredas. Innebörden och tillämpligheten av konkurrensklausuler i anställ-ningsavtal, i aktieöverlåtelse- och/eller i aktieägaravtal samt i kombinerade avtalssituationer kommer också att behandlas och analyseras.

I ett anställningsförhållande är en arbetstagare förbjuden att bedriva konkurrerande verksamhet med arbetsgivaren under anställningen enligt den så kallade lojalitetsplikten. Förbudet består under anställningen och upphör i... (More)
Uppsatsens syfte är att göra en intern komparation mellan arbetsrätten och associationsrätten avseende lojalitetsplikter och konkurrensklausuler. För att uppnå syftet kommer omfattningen av förbud mot konkurrerande verksam-het, som ett led av lojalitetsplikten såväl inom arbetsrätt och associationsrätt att utredas. Innebörden och tillämpligheten av konkurrensklausuler i anställ-ningsavtal, i aktieöverlåtelse- och/eller i aktieägaravtal samt i kombinerade avtalssituationer kommer också att behandlas och analyseras.

I ett anställningsförhållande är en arbetstagare förbjuden att bedriva konkurrerande verksamhet med arbetsgivaren under anställningen enligt den så kallade lojalitetsplikten. Förbudet består under anställningen och upphör i princip vid anställningens upphörande. En konkurrensklausul kan dock skri-vas in i anställningsavtalet, som förbjuder arbetstagaren att konkurrera med arbetsgivaren även en viss tid därefter.

Inom associationsrätten finns även ett förbud mot att bedriva konkurre-rande verksamhet enligt den associationsrättsliga lojalitetsplikten. Förbudet gäller gentemot bolaget och är tillämpligt endast på ett aktiebolags styrelse-ledamöter och VD. En konkurrensklausul kan emellertid föras in i både aktieöverlåtelse- och i aktieägaravtal, vilket möjliggör ett konkurrensförbud för fler aktörer såsom till exempel aktieägare. En konkurrensklausul i ett rent affärsmässigt avtal kan avse tiden efter en överlåtelse, under ett aktiein-nehav eller efter en aktieavyttring.

Såväl en överlåtare som en aktieägare kan också vara anställd i ett bolag och därmed bli bunden av både ett anställningsavtal och aktieöverlåtelse- och/eller aktieägaravtal samtidigt. Kombinerade avtalsrelationer kan därmed skapas, vilket kan få till konsekvens att flera konkurrensklausuler kan bli gällande samtidigt. Detta har i praktiken skapat en del problem. Frågor kring hur sådana kombinerade konkurrensklausuler förhåller sig till varandra och hur och enligt vilket regelverk de ska bedömas, belyser den problematik som råder och är av särskilt intresse i denna uppsats.

Enligt arbetsrätten finns ett antal krav och begränsningar som måste be-aktas i skälighetsbedömningen av arbetsrättsliga konkurrensklausuler. 1969 års överenskommelse, 36 och 38 §§ AvtL samt Arbetsdomstolens praxis är de regelverk som bedömningen tar sin utgångspunkt i, där faktorer såsom bland annat bindningstid och kravet på ersättning har visat sig vara av sär-skilt vikt för konkurrensklausulens giltighet.

För konkurrensklausuler i rent affärsmässiga avtal saknas som regel an-ledning att göra en jämförelse med 1969 års överenskommelse inom arbets-rätten och utgångspunkt ska tas i 36 och 38 §§ AvtL. Bedömningen kan till viss del liknas vid den arbetsrättsliga där en del gemensamma faktorer att beakta såsom bindningstid, kravet på ersättning etc. kan fastställas. Innebör-den av dessa faktorer kan dock skilja sig åt. Även andra faktorer kan vara av särskild betydelse för skäligheten av associationsrättsliga konkurrensklausu-ler som inte har någon motsvarighet inom arbetsrätten.

För kombinerade konkurrensklausuler utgår skälighetsbedömningen från diskussionen kring enligt vilket regelverk som klausulerna ska bedömas och vad som kan tillmätas betydelse i bedömningen. Utifrån vad som har kon-staterats i praxis, förarbeten och doktrin ställs man inför ett vägval. Ska konkurrensklausulerna bedömas enligt arbetsrätten, associationsrätten eller var för sig? Den rådande uppfattningen torde vara att varje klausul ska be-dömas var för sig inom sin avtalsmässiga kontext. Samtidigt finns det en del avvikande strukturer i litteraturen där bland annat Adlercreutz utifrån den praxis som finns på området, har uttalat att större vikt vid ska läggas vid en arbetsrättslig bedömning även på en associationsrättslig klausul i en kombi-nerad situation. Detta pekar även de praktiska konsekvenser som kan uppstå vid kombinerade avtalsrelationer på. Vad som är rätt vägval har dock i slutändan inget definitivt svar. Utifrån en helhetsbedömning kan ett antal omständigheter bli föremål för bedömning. Utgångspunkter från arbetsrätten flyter in i bedömningen av associationsrättsliga konkurrensklausuler i kom-binerade situationer och lägger grunden för skälighetsbedömningen. Därut-över finns också ett utrymme för att lägga till och ändra omständigheter att beakta utifrån varje specifikt fall.

Min slutsats är att en del likheter och skillnader kan konstateras mellan arbetsrätten och associationsrätten avseende förbud mot konkurrerande verksamhet och konkurrensklausuler. Utrymmet för att begränsa möjligheten att bedriva konkurrerande verksamhet är inom arbetsrätten och associat-ionsrätten ganska brett. Skillnader föreligger dock för hur förbudet kan komma till stånd och för vilka aktörer. Rättsområdena interagerar i viss mån med varandra, där associationsrättsliga avtal kan leda till arbetsrättsliga im-plikationer och vice versa. Även om konkurrensklausuler inom de olika rättsområdena inte alltid kan beskådas på samma vis, kan deras koppling till varandra vara skäligt att beakta, där utvecklingen av problematiken kan vara fortsatt intressant ur ett framtida utvecklingsperspektiv. (Less)
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to make an internal comparison between em-ployment and company law, regarding the duty of loyalty and non-compete clauses. To accomplish this, the scope of the prohibition to pursue competi-tive activities, as a part of the duty of loyalty both in employment and com-pany law, will be investigated. The content and the applicability of non-compete clauses in employment agreements, share purchase agreements, shareholder agreements and combined contractual relationships will also be discussed and analysed.
In an employment relationship, in the interest of good faith the employ-ee is not allowed to pursue activities that compete against the employer’s interests and business. The duty not to compete, which can be as... (More)
The purpose of this paper is to make an internal comparison between em-ployment and company law, regarding the duty of loyalty and non-compete clauses. To accomplish this, the scope of the prohibition to pursue competi-tive activities, as a part of the duty of loyalty both in employment and com-pany law, will be investigated. The content and the applicability of non-compete clauses in employment agreements, share purchase agreements, shareholder agreements and combined contractual relationships will also be discussed and analysed.
In an employment relationship, in the interest of good faith the employ-ee is not allowed to pursue activities that compete against the employer’s interests and business. The duty not to compete, which can be as an express clause or implied, goes to the duty of loyalty where the employee is pre-vented from harming the employer. The duty of loyalty ceases when the employment ends but can be extended after termination of the employment contract through a non-compete clause.

Within company law a duty of loyalty can also be found, that consists of a prohibition to compete. The prohibition from pursuing competitive activi-ties aims to protect the shareholders of the company from the board of directors and the managing director. Non-compete clauses can also be found in commercial agreements such as share purchase agreements and shareholder agreements, where other operators such as shareholders can be prohibited from competing. A non-compete clause in a commercial agreement can be used to protect for a period of time post-transfer, the time of the holding of shares, or a period of time after a sale of shares.

A transferor or/and a shareholder can also be employed at the company simultaneously. In such situations a combination of contractual relationships can be created, where several contracts and non-compete clauses can be in force between the parties at the same time. Such combinations have raised practical problems such as how the different contracts and non-compete clauses interact with each other, additionally how and by what regulations they should be evaluated. These considerations illustrate the complexity of the problems, which form a central part of this paper.

According to employment law, the fairness of a non-compete clause must be determined, taking multiple factors into consideration. A collective bargaining agreement (sw:”1969 års överenskommelse”), 36 and 38 §§ AvtL and the labour court practices, are the fundamental regulations that the test of fairness is based upon. The main factors which are of particular im-portance for the validity of a non-compete clause are the duration of their validity and whether any compensation has been paid to the employee for the limitations that the clause may cause.

In company law, there is normally no reason to make any comparison with the collective bargaining agreement. The fairness of a non-compete clause in a commercial agreement shall as a premise be determined in ac-cordance with 36 and 38 §§ AvtL. The test of fairness therefore in some ways is similar to the test used in employment law. Common factors for consideration such as the duration of validity, whether any compensation has been paid, can be identified. Discrepancies concerning the content of these factors and the occurrence of other factors which are of particular im-portance in company law must also be taken into consideration.

What of the situation where a combination of non-compete clauses oc-cur? Should they be assessed together or separately? What regulations the clauses should be assessed by determines the test of fairness to be applied. The starting point can be found by looking to preparatory work, court prac-tices and literature wherein the assessment is to be determined by a choice of assessment. Should the non-compete clauses be assessed according to employment law, company law or separately? The prevailing understanding is that each clause shall be assessed separately. However Adlercreutz puts forth a dissenting view based on the existing jurisprudence; he asserts that employment law might be applicable to both clauses. Practical implications arising from combined clauses also points to this course. What the right choice of assessment is has no definite answer. Based upon an overall as-sessment, a number of circumstances are to be assessed. Premises from em-ployment law can also be applied to non-compete clauses established in company law in a situation with combined clauses. In addition, other factors can be added or changed based on each individual case.

Thus I conclude that some similarities and differences can be noticed between employment law and company law, as regards the prohibition to compete and non-compete clauses. It is appropriate to describe the capacity to limit competitive activities in employment law and company law as wide-ranging. Discrepancies occur concerning how the prohibition can be created and for what operators it implicates. The legal areas interact in some ways, such as non-compete clauses in company law being able to result in implica-tions on employment law and vice versa. Even though the differences be-tween these legal areas are still notable, the observed connection between them can be reasonable to consider, where the development of the occurring problems can be interesting from a future development perspective. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Åberg, Michelle LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Prohibition from pursuing competitive activities and non-compete clauses - An analysis of employment and company law
course
JURM02 20141
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Arbetsrätt, Associationsrätten, lojalitetsplikt, förbud mot konkurrerande verksamhet, konkurrensklausuler, aktieägaravtal, anställningsavtal, aktieöverlåtelseavtal.
language
Swedish
id
4450247
date added to LUP
2014-06-12 09:04:39
date last changed
2014-06-12 09:04:39
@misc{4450247,
  abstract     = {The purpose of this paper is to make an internal comparison between em-ployment and company law, regarding the duty of loyalty and non-compete clauses. To accomplish this, the scope of the prohibition to pursue competi-tive activities, as a part of the duty of loyalty both in employment and com-pany law, will be investigated. The content and the applicability of non-compete clauses in employment agreements, share purchase agreements, shareholder agreements and combined contractual relationships will also be discussed and analysed.
In an employment relationship, in the interest of good faith the employ-ee is not allowed to pursue activities that compete against the employer’s interests and business. The duty not to compete, which can be as an express clause or implied, goes to the duty of loyalty where the employee is pre-vented from harming the employer. The duty of loyalty ceases when the employment ends but can be extended after termination of the employment contract through a non-compete clause.

Within company law a duty of loyalty can also be found, that consists of a prohibition to compete. The prohibition from pursuing competitive activi-ties aims to protect the shareholders of the company from the board of directors and the managing director. Non-compete clauses can also be found in commercial agreements such as share purchase agreements and shareholder agreements, where other operators such as shareholders can be prohibited from competing. A non-compete clause in a commercial agreement can be used to protect for a period of time post-transfer, the time of the holding of shares, or a period of time after a sale of shares. 

A transferor or/and a shareholder can also be employed at the company simultaneously. In such situations a combination of contractual relationships can be created, where several contracts and non-compete clauses can be in force between the parties at the same time. Such combinations have raised practical problems such as how the different contracts and non-compete clauses interact with each other, additionally how and by what regulations they should be evaluated. These considerations illustrate the complexity of the problems, which form a central part of this paper.

According to employment law, the fairness of a non-compete clause must be determined, taking multiple factors into consideration. A collective bargaining agreement (sw:”1969 års överenskommelse”), 36 and 38 §§ AvtL and the labour court practices, are the fundamental regulations that the test of fairness is based upon. The main factors which are of particular im-portance for the validity of a non-compete clause are the duration of their validity and whether any compensation has been paid to the employee for the limitations that the clause may cause.

In company law, there is normally no reason to make any comparison with the collective bargaining agreement. The fairness of a non-compete clause in a commercial agreement shall as a premise be determined in ac-cordance with 36 and 38 §§ AvtL. The test of fairness therefore in some ways is similar to the test used in employment law. Common factors for consideration such as the duration of validity, whether any compensation has been paid, can be identified. Discrepancies concerning the content of these factors and the occurrence of other factors which are of particular im-portance in company law must also be taken into consideration.

What of the situation where a combination of non-compete clauses oc-cur? Should they be assessed together or separately? What regulations the clauses should be assessed by determines the test of fairness to be applied. The starting point can be found by looking to preparatory work, court prac-tices and literature wherein the assessment is to be determined by a choice of assessment. Should the non-compete clauses be assessed according to employment law, company law or separately? The prevailing understanding is that each clause shall be assessed separately. However Adlercreutz puts forth a dissenting view based on the existing jurisprudence; he asserts that employment law might be applicable to both clauses. Practical implications arising from combined clauses also points to this course. What the right choice of assessment is has no definite answer. Based upon an overall as-sessment, a number of circumstances are to be assessed. Premises from em-ployment law can also be applied to non-compete clauses established in company law in a situation with combined clauses. In addition, other factors can be added or changed based on each individual case. 

Thus I conclude that some similarities and differences can be noticed between employment law and company law, as regards the prohibition to compete and non-compete clauses. It is appropriate to describe the capacity to limit competitive activities in employment law and company law as wide-ranging. Discrepancies occur concerning how the prohibition can be created and for what operators it implicates. The legal areas interact in some ways, such as non-compete clauses in company law being able to result in implica-tions on employment law and vice versa. Even though the differences be-tween these legal areas are still notable, the observed connection between them can be reasonable to consider, where the development of the occurring problems can be interesting from a future development perspective.},
  author       = {Åberg, Michelle},
  keyword      = {Arbetsrätt,Associationsrätten,lojalitetsplikt,förbud mot konkurrerande verksamhet,konkurrensklausuler,aktieägaravtal,anställningsavtal,aktieöverlåtelseavtal.},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Förbud mot konkurrerande verksamhet och konkurrensklausuler - En arbetsrättslig och associationsrättslig analys},
  year         = {2014},
}