NON-COMPETE AND NON-SOLICITATION
What is the first thing that happens when an employee starts a new job? The employee receives a big stack of paperwork or online documents to quickly review and sign.
These documents frequently contain important legal agreements between the employee and the new employer, including a non-compete or non-solicitation agreement. The employee is asked to sign these agreements on the spot with no ability whatsoever to negotiate the terms.
What to do?
Far too many people assume a noncompete agreement is not enforceable in Texas because this is a right to work state. However, that Texas is a right to work state means only that an employee cannot be required to join a union as a condition of accepting a job in Texas. It has nothing to do with the enforceability of a non-compete agreement.
Texas law allows people to enter into enforceable non-compete and non-solicitation agreements and these agreements are routinely enforced in Texas as long as they comply with Texas law.
There are important differences between non-compete and non-solicitation agreements. Many people do not understand these differences.
A non-compete agreement prohibits an employee from working in a defined industry or job for a particular period of time in a defined location.
In contrast, a non-solicitation agreement only prohibits an employee from soliciting clients or employees of the former employer for a defined period and, sometimes, in a defined geographic area. The differences between the agreements are important.
Before signing a non-compete or non-solicitation agreement, an employee must ask the following question: can I still work in my chosen industry if this job does not work out?
Employees should not hesitate to have a non-compete or non-solicitation agreement reviewed by an attorney before signing it. While this may cost a little bit in legal fees up front, it can prevent a much more expensive fight after the employment relationship ends.
Many employees are reluctant to tell new employers that they want time to review the agreement for fear of irritating their new employer. This is faulty logic given the importance of the contract and most employers actually respect the due diligence.
If you have questions about a non-compete or non-solicitation agreement, contact us by clicking Tell Us About Your Problem and filling out the questionnaire.