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THE EMPLOYMENT LAW GROUP®

Toll Free: 1-888-826-5260
Fax: 202-261-2835

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Do You Need a Non-Compete Lawyer?

  • Are you hesitating in accepting a new position because the employer is asking you to sign an oppressive non-compete agreement?

  • Are you stuck in a dead-end position because your non-compete agreement is preventing you from finding a better position elsewhere?
  • Have you lost the ability to use your customer list built up over the course of your career because an employer now claims that list belongs to them?
  • Is your career advancement on hold because you are under the thumb of a non-compete agreement with a former employer?

Non-compete agreements are a part of employment contract law intended to protect employers against employees who leave and take with them a number of customers or significant industry intelligence. However, these so-called restrictive covenants were always intended to be as narrow as possible to defend the employer’s legitimate interests. As employers have begun to use these agreements more and more frequently, a number of states have limited the circumstances under which employers are allowed to restrain trade. By retaining a lawyer to defend your interests against an employer seeking to implement or enforce a non-compete agreement, you can often limit the employer’s ability to exercise such restraints on trade, and in some cases, have the entire agreement struck down.

The Employment Law Group® law firm is a recognized leader in the field of employment law and has successfully fought to protect employees’ rights in the workplace, including defending employees from their former employers and unfair non-compete agreements. Our attorneys are experienced in evaluating the various strategies available to attack the enforceability of unfair and burdensome non-compete agreements.

In addition to working on numerous cases to defend against non-compete agreements, TELG attorneys are frequently published and routinely invited to participate as presenters and panelists on topics related to noncompete agreements.

By working with an attorney, employees can negotiate the terms of a non-compete agreement or take steps that will prevent a former employer from standing in the way of a new opportunity.

As with all legal claims, deadlines are crucial. Statutes of limitations on non-compete agreements may vary from one case to another, but a smart employee will take steps to prevent a legal dispute before it happens.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

When does employment contract law make non-compete agreements unenforceable?

The law can substantially vary from state to state but, generally, a non-compete may be unenforceable if the agreement is:

  • Excessively severe or oppressive,
  • Unclear or ambiguous,
  • Overly broad, covering too large of a geographical area or for too long of a time period, or if it is
  • Unnecessary to protect your former employer’s legitimate business interests.
  • Additionally, you might also be protected from a non-compete if:
  • You were fired,
  • Your former employer selectively enforces non-competes,
  • Enforcing the agreement would require you to relocate a great distance,
  • Your new job does not place you in direct competition with your former employer, or if
  • Your former employer acted improperly or unlawfully with regard to your employment, such as withholding wages, discriminating against you or retaliating against you.

What can I do if my former employer is trying to enforce an unfair non-compete provision?

One option may be to turn the tables on your former employer by seeking a declaratory judgment from the courts and forcing your employer to defend their non-compete. Furthermore, in some jurisdictions you may be able to sue for damages you incurred as a result of your former employer’s attempt to enforce an unenforceable non-competition provision.

What should I consider before signing an agreement?

Each employee’s case is unique, and there are a number of factors that impact whether you should sign a non-compete agreement:

  • Can you support yourself with the imposed restrictions? Don’t unknowingly agree to give up your future livelihood for a job today.
  • Preferably, only agree to sign an agreement that specifies competitors or other employers instead of an entire region.
  • Try to narrow the agreement to a specific field or product and not just something overly broad such as ‘sales’ for example.
  • Identify what commercially valuable information your employer is seeking to protect.
  • Ask for a garden leave provision – under this provision you must provide advanced notice of your intent to leave your employer but if your employer ask you to leave, they will continue to pay you for a pre-determined period of time during which you are restricted from competing

Why should I act quickly?

When facing a lawsuit over a non-compete agreement, sometimes known as a restrictive covenant, you must act quickly because your former employer may seek to prevent you from working at your new job.

What’s the next step I should take?

There are exceptions and every claim is different but if you believe your former employer is unfairly attempting to enforce a non-competition provision call The Employment Law Group® law firm to schedule a consultation with us and, together, we’ll decide what your next move should be.

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