There are certain types of jobs that involve working with or coming into contact with private or proprietary information. In many cases, it is this information that offers the company a competitive advantage, and for this reason, they want to protect these intangible assets as much as possible. They may do this by asking employees to sign certain types of contracts called non-compete agreements.
These are contracts that may keep you from working with a competing employer at some point in the future. The intent is to keep you from taking what you know and using it to give a different employer an advantage. While employers do have the right to require non-compete agreements, it is in your interests to know whether what you are agreeing to is fair and reasonable. If it is not, it could limit your career options in the future.
What makes a non-compete agreement enforceable?
Every company is different, and it is likely that the terms of your agreement will be unique to your job and the objectives of your employer. Some of the most important considerations for ensuring this agreement is enforceable include the following:
- It must protect a genuine business interest of the employer.
- The agreement has to be reasonable in its scope and terms.
- There must be reasonable consideration given at the time of signing.
This contract can limit your ability to find a new job in the future. Based your skills and experience, you may have specific, limited employment options, but a non-compete you signed even years ago may keep you from advancing in your career or making a necessary job change. This is why it is essential to carefully review any agreement before you sign it.
How can an attorney help?
A Texas attorney can assist you with your agreement by making sure what you are about to sign is reasonable, is fair and does not limit your future options beyond reason. Any legally binding agreement can impact your long-term interests, and regardless of how confident you feel about your job, a non-compete agreement always merits a thorough review before signing.
As with any type of employment law issue, it is in your interests to have legal counsel. Even in simple matters, such as signing an employment contract, having experienced guidance on your side can help you avoid missteps that can negatively impact your career at any point.