What is a non-compete agreement?

| Jun 9, 2020 | Firm News |

When you are onboarding at a new company, it is important to understand the paperwork that you are signing. Many employers require new employees to sign a non-competition agreement when they join on for work. 
 
Non-competition agreements are not illegal and they do not necessarily impinge upon your rights. However, it is important to understand what is in your non-competition agreement and when it goes too far. According to Findlaw, a non-competition agreement protects your employer should you decide to leave the company. 
 
What does a non-compete agreement address? 
 
Specifically, a non-compete agreement protects your employer in the event that you decide to move on to a new company or start your own business. It is likely that during the time that you worked at the original company, you came across some sensitive information. A non-compete agreement prevents you from sharing trade secrets or other valuable information with a competitor or using it to start your own business. 
 
Non-competition agreements may also prevent you from starting a competing business in the same geographic locale as your employer. 
 
Does a non-compete agreement last forever? 
 
No, it does not. In fact, in order for a non-compete agreement to be legal in the eyes of the courts, it must be reasonable in duration and scope. The parameters of this are different depending on the company and the information at hand. However, it is unlikely that a court will find a former employer has the right to silence you for all eternity. 
 
Additionally, non-compete agreements cannot prevent you from pursuing a livelihood once you leave your original company. They also cannot prevent you from opening up a competing business in a different location.