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It is time to look for a new job, but you’ve signed a non compete agreement. At the time you expected to be with the company for long enough to launch to the next level of your career, so it seemed like a moot point. But due to circumstances beyond your control it is 3 years later, you like where you live, but you are bound by a non compete agreement.

Is The Non Compete Agreement Legal?

Before you answer ‘yes’ to the job interview question, ‘are you bound by a non compete agreement’, take the time to make sure your agreement is legally binding. Do not guess, ask an employment lawyer. Do not just take the agreement with you. Take all your employment papers. It may be a good idea to have a letter from your lawyer expressing your freedom.

There is nothing worse than ending up in litigation because you ‘assumed’ that you were not covered. Not all agreements to ‘protect a company’s intellectual property’, or not to compete mean you cannot work for the competition.

Is The Agreement Enforceable?

Any agreement with post employment restrictions must be presented at a job interview. It is also important to have a lawyer’s summary stating the limitations outlined in the employment document. Ignorance of the actual language will not protect a company from litigation. If you leave it to the job interviewer to interpret the legal ramifications of the contract then you may be considered ‘too much of a risk.’

Are there words like non-competition, non-solicitation, etc.

Can the new employer live with the restrictions outlined in the document? Are you, the management candidate, able to give your new employer 100%, including protect them from possible litigation.

What are the limitations? The contract may not limit the management candidate from working for the competition, but it may limit them from taking clients from the old employer, or bringing their team with them.

Protect Your New Employer

In the last days of employment

Do Not:

Look at confidential documents

Return all documents to the employer

Return all copies of documents, works in process, etc.

Destroy all information with addresses, contact information,

Do not take a copy of the client list – or anything that may be a crutch/protection.

Do:

Leave on a good note.

Leave your past employer feeling confident that you are not going to betray them.

Do write out your restrictions, duty outlines, and limitations and present them to the new employer.

Do the ‘leg work’ so that your new employer will not see the non-competition agreement as the end of the recruitment process.

Be very careful writing and signing a non-compete agreement that will prevent you landing a future job with the competition.

Do let your potential new employer know, in writing, that you will not bring contacts, talent, client lists, etc.

No Non Compete Agreement

You didn’t sign a non compete agreement? Great, you are free to work where you want. What you are not free to do is take the company’s intellectual property, anything you created for the company, client lists, supplier lists, etc.  We will discuss this further in the Predatory Hiring article.

When in doubt – Don’t.

When in doubt – seek legal advice.

It is time to look for a new job, but you’ve signed a non compete agreement. At the time you expected to be with the company for long enough to launch to the next level of your career, so it seemed like a moot point. But due to circumstances beyond your control it is 3 years later, you like where you live, but you are bound by a non compete agreement.

 


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