XIVth Meeting of European Labour Court Judges
4 September 2006
Cour de cassation
Non-competition clauses in labour contracts
National reporter: Mr. Giovanni Mammone
Presso Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura
1. What clauses, if any, are in your country’s constitution? Are there clauses relating to the
freedom of occupation; protection of property (if so, does this include intellectual
property and trade secrets); freedom of contract, etc. If there are such clauses, how are
they applied relating to covenants not to compete? Which, if any, of the EU Directives
relating to this subject are applied in your country?
Articles of Italian Constitution relating to covenants not to compete in labour contracts
• Art. 4: “Italian Republic recognises to all citizens the right at work and promotes its
effectiveness” (paragraph 1);
• Art. 35: “Italian Republic protects work in every its forms and applications”
• Art. 41: “Private economic enterprise is free” (paragraph 1).
In Italian labour law non competition of the employee towards his employer is regulated
A. During the labour relationship (i.e. during the performance of the labour contract)
employee can’t compete with the employer. Art. 2105 of Italian civil code says that
employee has a fidelity duty; he can’t do any business in opposition to the employer
interest and must keep secret about all manufacturing activities.
B. Art. 2125 of civil code provides that employer (plaintiff) can covenant that
employee (defendant) does not compete with him after the end of the labour
relationship. This is properly for Italian labour law a covenant not to compete: an
agreement made during the labour relationship when the contract is still effective.
The covenant is valid only if: a) is written; b) is rewarded; c) has established limits
of object, period or area. Term of covenant can’t be more than five yea