One for the legal types:
I used to have a non-compete clause in my employment contract, which said that I was forbidden from working for a competing firm in the same industry for six months after my departure. When I left, I was told that this was unenforcable due to some EU directive which said that the company had no right to prevent me taking up a job which I'd been offered, regardly of contractual terms.
Indeed, I did go and work for a competitor in full knowledge of the company and they did nothign about it, so I assume the advice I recied at the time was correct.
Now a similar situation has cropped up - a friend has been working for an agency for just over a year, but she's cheekily been working directly for one of the agency's clients as well on the side. The agency has just found out and fined the company ú2k, and said that it'll cost them another ú4k to buy her out of her agency contract. So they've sacked her.
If she terminated her contract with the agency (which she's perfectly entitled to do at any time), would they really be able to prevent her taking up an offer of employment, regardless of who it's from?