international employment law firm alliance L&E Global

The Netherlands: Court imposes a non-competition restriction on a self-employed worker

A self-employed worker worked for Transvision, a passenger transport company, on the basis of a contract for services. For Transvision, he was responsible for the so-called Valys-tender, which was the biggest tender in the field of taxi-services in the region. In 2017, the self-employed worker terminated the contract for services with Transvision and he started to work for its main competitor CTS in the position of CEO. As CTS was also the main competitor of Transvision for the Valys-tender, Transvision was afraid that the self-employed worker would leak confidential information to his new client. Consequently, Transvision started court proceedings in which they claimed (1) compliance with the confidentiality clause subject to a periodic penalty payment and (2) a prohibition for the self-employed worker to work for CTS for a period of one year.

The court acknowledged the risk of unfair competition due to the knowledge the self-employed worker had of Transvision, in particular of their participation in the Valys-tender. The court thus granted Transvision’s claim to impose a duty of confidentiality subject to a periodic penalty payment on the self-employed worker. As to the claim of Transvision to forbid the self-employed worker to work for CTS for one year, the court ruled that such a measure should be regarded as an unduly severe restriction. However, the court determined that the self-employed worker would not be allowed to be involved with the Valys-tender on behalf of CTS for a one year period.