Employers in the oil industry will require you to sign multiple documents when you start a new job. Most of these documents confirm you as an employee. But some of them are meant to protect the company from the competition.

You may already be familiar with noncompete agreements and consider them part of the job. But before you sign this document, you should review it to see how it can affect your employability if you decide to leave the company.

Noncompete agreements protect employers from competition

Noncompete agreements limit who the employee can work for after leaving a company. Employers can list competitors in the same industry who do business in the same area. The employee cannot seek employment at these competitors for a certain time after leaving.

These agreements also block employees from starting their own competing business. An agreement protects the company from one of their own employees poaching clients or using trade secrets to become a competitor.

Reviewing the duration and geographical location of a noncompete

When you sign a noncompete agreement, you should pay attention to the length of time it lasts. Texas law loosely limits the time length of a noncompete, requiring it to be reasonable. But your company may feel that a reasonable time is years from your date of departure. An agreement may keep you out of a well-paying job in the oil industry for years.

You also want to make sure you review the geographic area that the agreement covers. If your company does business all over the world, a noncompete agreement can limit your ability to take a position with a different company.

Reviewing a noncompete can keep your future employment options safe

Many oil companies have guarded secrets and operations. They use noncompete agreements to prevent competitors from gaining access to trade secrets or client lists.

However, this agreement should not hinder your future career. You may want to consult with an attorney to make sure that it is not overly restrictive.

When you review the agreement’s restrictions before you sign, you ensure that you can leave the company without fear of finding another job.