Noncompete agreements a common focus of employer/former worker spats

On Behalf of | Jul 22, 2020 | Firm News |

American workers have rights, of course. In fact, a veritable tome of statutory and case laws protects them in the workplace, with safeguards being authored at federal, state and municipal levels of government.

Those rights aren’t unlimited, obviously. If they were, managerial prerogatives and decision-making powers would be flatly powerless. Employers have rights, too. Reciprocity must prevail in any workplace in order for managers and a company workforce to work optimally together and advance business goals.

That reciprocity and mutual focus on rights and duties is sometimes sorely tested in the business world. An instructive example of that is when a key employee quits his or her job at one company and commences work with a business rival.

Discord can easily emerge in such an instance. Concededly, a departed worker has a legal right to be gainfully employed.  An ex-employer has a corresponding right, though, to ensure protection of proprietary company data that the former worker has knowledge of and may put to use for a new employer.

How can that be reconciled?

Employers hiring key workers frequently insist that they sign noncompete agreements before beginning work. Such contracts seek to protect a company in the event that an employee hires on with a rival and freely divulges sensitive and closely protected information.

Noncompetes frequently take center stage in civil litigation. Employers allege a departed worker’s breach of a contract, and ex-employees frequently counter that a noncompete is unenforceable for being overly restrictive.

Indeed, noncompete contracts/clauses and related restrictive covenants must be carefully tailored in terms of time and geography.

Such agreements legitimately and fairly safeguard a company’s interests when properly drafted. A proven pro-business legal team can provide further information.