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The company which I have been working for for two and a half years have deployed me to a subsidiary company, a digital agency, in January of last year. I enjoy working at this company, the company culture is superior to the parent company in my eyes, as well as being closer to home.

Recently, the parent company has decided to pull me back to their offices, starting the beginning of July, moving me to resign and apply to other companies closer to home. Resigning and signing for the subsidiary was also under consideration, but I have been informed that there is a non-compete clause in place between the two companies, but that is all I have been told by the senior project manager of the subsidiary company.

He also mentioned to me that I can accept a fixed-term contract elsewhere to 'exhaust' the non-compete clause and then return to apply for a proper position at the subsidiary company. Should I take this under consideration? I am currently in talks with another company who want to take me on a 6-month contract. However, their program manager who has been handling our correspondence seems too keen to want to take me on, wanting to send me the project brief immediately once it is completed. It's not the main question I'm asking here, but should I be wary of this?

So to sum up, should I trust the project manager's words that there could be a place for me after the 6 months have expired? The other team members have stated that they won't be able to handle capacity without me.

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    Have you asked the Parent company if they would forego the agreement in your case, as you would be resigning due to the location anyway ? I've known these clauses to be relaxed in certain situations (eg where an employee is moving for other reasons and would be resigning anyway) – Smock Jun 18 at 12:57
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    No I haven't. Is it ethical to do so? I haven't resigned yet. – user90580 Jun 18 at 13:12
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    Why wouldn't it be ethical to talk to them about it? Unless you don't want them to know that you're thinking of leaving. Some companies can be quite reasonable with clauses and contracts when talked to. (I've had notice periods reduced from 2 months to 2 weeks by talking to employers and discussing things in an adult manner) – Smock Jun 18 at 13:31
  • It's also worth noting that I initially requested to remain at the subsidiary company until December, which was swiftly turned down for no good reason other that stating that I am an employee of the parent company. I can already see what his reaction would be if he found out I was leaving the company entirely. – user90580 Jun 18 at 13:35
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    @dwizum Thanks for your input. – user90580 Jun 18 at 13:40
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He also mentioned to me that I can accept a fixed-term contract elsewhere to 'exhaust' the non-compete clause and then return to apply for a proper position at the subsidiary company. Should I take this under consideration?

Yes you should consider this.

Thoroughly read your contract with particular attention to the non-compete clauses. Make sure you agree that this tactic would work.

Remember that there is no guarantee of a position at the subsidiary at the end of the fixed-term contract. Be sure that you want to work there for the term and that you are willing to take the risk.

Then make your decision accordingly.

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When two companies have a non-compete or non-poaching agreement there is usually a minimum amount of time that you have to be unemployed or employed elsewhere before you can go to the other company. The senior project manager of the subsidiary company is telling you the best way around the terms of the agreement.

The risk for you is that in 6 months or so when you want to join the subsidiary there may not be the exact job you want, or even any job in that office at all. It could be months or years before that position reopens. The subsidiary can't put in writing that they will hold the position open for you because that would likely be a violation of the non-compete clause.

If the subsidiary steered you in the direction of a specific company they may have an unofficial agreement to park candidates there before they are eligible for hiring. But that still doen't guarantee that a position will be available.

The eagerness of the 3rd company to get you started by sending you a project brief may be unrelated. I have seen both employers and interviewees get overly excited in the early stages of a job search, only to discover that that excitement was unrelated to the actual prospects of the person being interviewed. I have no idea how to interpret their described eagerness.

  • Bearing in mind that the position wasn't agreed in writing with me personally. It was between the two line managers. I am still under contract with the parent company, and there's no sense of vacating a post here at the subsidiary because the post wasn't initially there. I understand that they might have found another solution to cope with the lack of capacity in those six months, if that's what you're saying. – user90580 Jun 18 at 11:07

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