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Enforceability of Noncompete Agreements: What Employees Should Know

By Dan Atkerson on April 23, 2018

A work meetingA noncompete agreement between an employer and an employee is a professional agreement that sets restrictions on working in the same field after leaving or being let go from company. In essence, a noncompete agreement prevents the employee from working for another company in the same specified field for a set amount of time. This timeframe can vary from company to company.

While noncompete agreements are usually fair, there are times when they are too restrictive. Disputes may arise over the stipulations of the agreement and if it goes too far. The team at our Dallas, TX law firm considers these matters below.

Can Noncompete Agreements Go Too Far?

In an ideal world, noncompete agreements would be simple arrangements that ensure certain trade secrets and company information is not shared with competitors. Sadly, these kinds of agreements can wind up going too far, causing a great deal of hardship to an employee and their loved ones following the end of employment.

When these noncompete agreements go too far, it can be difficult if not impossible for an employee to make a living given the nature of the arrangement.

Issues with Restrictive Noncompete Agreements

Some noncompete agreements will demand that employees spend too long out of their profession, making it difficult to remain gainfully employed given their skill set. There may be serious problems if a former employee is kept out of the job market for an extended amount of time. The industry may move forward while the former employee is left in the dust.

Issues with State-to-State Noncompete Laws

There is also an issue with geography. If a person moves to a different place, the noncompete clause may not be enforceable despite the nature of the agreement. Each state has different noncompete agreement laws, and the noncompete agreement signed may not take these realities into account. If someone moves from Texas to California or vice versa, there may be disputes over the limits of the agreement that was signed.

Incentives and Bonuses in Noncompete Agreements

Employers may incentivize the signing of noncompete agreements by offering bonuses, a higher salary, and other benefits. In these cases, the addition of these bonuses may cause courts to view a noncompete agreement more favorably even if it does appear restrictive.

How a Lawyer Can Help

If you have experienced issues or any sort of hardships as a result of a restrictive and unreasonable noncompete agreement, an attorney can help. The lawyer will go over the nature of your noncompete agreement, noting any financial incentives provided, and whether or not the noncompete agreement was part of a standard employment contract.

Building your case, we can demonstrate why the noncompete agreement has a negative impact on you and your livelihood. Our goal will be to help you become gainfully employed, subject to only reasonable requests from your former employee.

Learn More About Your Legal Options

For more information about your legal rights and options related to noncompete agreements and other facets of employment law, be sure to contact an experienced employee rights lawyer. The entire team at the Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson is here for you and will fight on your side.

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