Good dayI am a full time employee and wa...

Asked by Nicolene on 19-10-2023 16:05:10
Question posted in the General Law category relating to Gauteng

Good day

I am a full time employee and want to know if my company can refuse me from generating a training course for online platforms like YouTube and Udemy on content that is generic to the product I am an expert in.

Our company use this software product (SAP) and my intention is to share my expertize in a training course. NDA's are in place and none of my course material breach this, only features and best practices of the software that is generic to any company globally using the software. Since it is generic it is not intellectual property of the company.

Kind regards


Further information relating to Question:

If there is a specific law I can reference when I disclose my intention to become a online educator in my spare time, that would be helpful. Thanks

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 19-10-2023 16:21:45

Hi there and thank you for your question,

I am a practicing attorney based in South Africa and I will assist you with your question. Please feel free to ask as many follow up questions in order to clarify your question. If you have a new question, you must please open a new thread.

Please keep in mind that our discussions is for general information purposes only. Our engagement on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. 

The first question I have is that doesn't your employment agreement say that you are full-time employed and you are supposed to devote all of your time to the company and that you are not allowed running/operating any side business?

The agreement could say ANY side business, or it could limit the prohibition to a side business which might act as a competitor to the company. 

If your agreement doesn't contain any such prohibition, then I see absolutely no reason why you can't run a side business, conditional upon: - you not competing with your company, and you no using any of the company's IP. 

If your videos are simply going to act as training material, on SAP, and do not actually share any company IP, then there is nothing wrong with what you're suggesting. 

There isn't really any law that I can quote you except to say that the default position is that you can do anything you want in your own time (i.e. your 16 hours of a 24 hour day) and if you want to be a gym instructor in your spare time to earn extra money, or whatever, has nothing to do with the company. 

EXCEPT, if your side business competes with the company or if you are using company IP. 

Message from the client

Right, I am not competing with them or sharing any company IP, but if I understand you correctly, they can refuse this if this is in my employment contract that I may not engage in a side business, right? I will have to study the employment contract before approaching them.

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 19-10-2023 17:03:02

Yes, that's about right. Their argument would be "that's what you agreed to". The reason why some companies include this in an employment agreement is because the company doesn't want the employee working a side-business after hours, and then coming to work tired the next morning.

The company essentially says "we will pay you a proper salary, but you can't do any side-business."

I will have to study the employment contract before approaching them. --> Yes, 100000% yes. Because you need to be in a position to say that your employment contract doesn't limit your after-hours work. Also, the point of not competing and not sharing IP is vital.

Also, you should be approaching it like "I have decided that I want to do XYZ, and I'm just letting you know because I am an employee and we have a good employer/employee relationship", rather than "please can I do XYZ after hours?"

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