Many employers want employees to sign non-compete agreements promising not to work for a competitor or reveal trade secrets. A non-compete agreement generally covers.
- The geographic area where the employee is prohibited from working
- The length of time the employee can’t work with a competitor
- Types of job positions covered by the agreement
A non-compete agreement (Also called “a covenant not to compete”), protects your business from losing employees and information to competitors. For employees that are privy to sensitive business information or trade secrets, a non-compete agreement prevents them from working for a competitor.
Protecting Trade Secrets
A trade secret is a pattern, formula, process, program, method, technique, or other information that gives your company an advantage over competitors. When an employee with access to trade secrets leaves your company, you often times want to make sure he or she doesn’t work for a competitor. An employee who has quit or been fired can take your trade secrets and share them with a new employer. A properly worded non-compete agreement can prevent this.
You’ll need to have a valid business reason for using a non-compete agreement. Courts take a person’s right to earn a living seriously, so you’ll need to prove a non-compete agreement is justified. If you show that the employee has access to a trade secret, and release of that trade secret to a competitor would jeopardize your business, you have a legitimate reason for the employee to sign a non-compete agreement. You should carefully choose to whom you present a non-compete agreement. This gives you a better chance of enforcing the agreements and having them hold up in court. While the focus of this article is trade secrets, there are other ways to support a non-compete agreement.
How to Make Your Non-Compete Agreement Enforceable
Don’t make your non-compete agreement too broad by covering too wide an area (the entire U.S.) or too long a time (ten years). The court could render it unenforceable if an ex-employee decided to challenge the non-compete agreement. Create an agreement that benefits your company and is fair to the employee. Longer, tougher non-compete agreements are usually reserved for non-employee purposes, such as the sale of a business.
Protect your trade secrets with a non-compete agreement drafted by one of the lawyers at Simon| Paschal PLLC. We’ll help safeguard your business with a fair agreement that will help you avoid headaches (and possibly court time) in the future. Call us today at 972-893-9340 to learn how we can help protect your company’s trade secrets.
Simon| Paschal PLLC | Non Compete Attorney Dallas TX | 972-893-9340
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