SINGAPORE: A part-time employee working in the educational sector took to social media to share that after being fired, his boss forced him to reveal his new employer.

“The boss insisted that I must tell him the new company name. But I don’t want to, I had rejected him face-to-face and said I am not able to provide you with the details of my new company name. The boss is scaring me by saying I am breaching the agreement of the non-compete clause/contract if I work for a competitor company within a few months upon leaving the company,” the employee wrote on r/askSingapore on Sunday (Mar 3).

The employee also said that during their conversation, his boss would use a threatening tone while asking him for his new employer’s details. 

He even tried to coax the information out of him by telling him it was “okay to tell them, as it was to protect him and the company itself.”

Not knowing what to do, as his attempts to push back against his boss’s demands did not work, he sought advice from his fellow Singaporean Redditors on social media.

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“What should I do? I haven’t started working at my new job yet, and I do not know what he will do to me if I don’t reveal it. Will I get into a lawsuit? Please help. I’m not sure how I should handle this, and I’m so distraught by this,” the employee said.

“Don’t ever reveal your new employment”

In the comments section, many Singaporeans advised the employee never to give in to his boss’s demands and to tell him his new employer’s details.

One individual said, “No, don’t ever reveal your new employment. He can harass you at your new places by spreading bad rumors at your new place that can get you fired before you even start working there. He can hurt your reputation severely. Play it cool.”

A recruiter also joined the discussion and told the employee it was his right to refuse to comment. He also assured the man that the majority of the ‘non-competes are not enforceable’ therefore he had nothing to be afraid of.

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“Non-competes only apply for people in very high positions, or in extremely niche roles with access to sensitive information that is very confidential.

Part timers definitely do not fall in the above-mentioned category – far from it. So you’re definitely safe,” the recruiter explained.

Some also suggested that if his boss kept asking him, he should take a proactive approach and begin recording their interactions, as this could be used as evidence in potential harassment cases. 

Furthermore, some advised the employee to report the incident to the police for harassment or to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for further assistance and intervention.

One individual added, “Don’t understand what these people are thinking. If you are not happy with the employee and fired him already, shouldn’t you be happy that he/she managed to find another job outside?

Unless they are so small minded and petty that they want the employee to stay jobless forever and starve? Really siao lang.”

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When are non-compete clauses enforceable?

According to Singapore Legal Advice, non-compete clauses in Singapore are only enforceable if the clause protects the “legitimate proprietary interests” of the employers and is proven reasonable.

Legitimate proprietary interests refer to any advantage or specific asset the employer owns (for example, trade and customer connections) that a former employee can use for personal gain.

This advantage or asset does not refer to the skills or knowledge that the employee acquires as part of his job during his tenure.

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