It is normal to be excited at the point of landing your dream job or parting ways with your place of work. However, you should match your excitement with extreme caution as regards to the documents and agreements you sign at that point. Common amongst such agreements is the non-compete agreement. The ordinary nature of a non-compete agreement, as you might have heard is that it restricts your choices of subsequent employments when you leave your current job.
There are some statements that you should look out for before signing a non-compete agreement. These statements have complex effects on your career. Once you notice any of the following in your non-compete agreement, please take a step back and seek necessary review before putting pen to the paper;
Open Ended Clauses
The nature of legal statements is such that leaving them open-ended allows the crafting of further assumptions and situations into the stated restriction. Hence, you are most likely running into trouble signing an agreement that contains such statements, as you cannot fully evaluate the extent of the restriction it places on you.
For example, an agreement that prohibits you from working for “any company that provides advisory services” limits you from all types of advisory services company whether or not it has any similarity with what your current employee does and irrespective of the geographical difference. Once you sight open ended clauses in your non-compete agreement, you are advised to propose some reviews that’ll reduce the challenges it places on your career.
Statements on time set
Traditionally, non-competes restrict you from working with rival companies or setting up a similar business within a specified time after leaving your current job.
One of the ways your employer can tie you down with non-compete agreements is including coercive time restrictions or making the document lack a time set within which the restriction will be bind you. Watch out for the time set statements in your non-compete agreements.
Statements on competing locations or territories
The location that will be set depends on the nature of your employment. While a number of miles away might be just fair for a stylist, up to four-state area will be fine for a sales executive.
However, in setting the physical radius, employers include distances which are not commensurate to what any court will consider fair as it relates to your employment role.
Unfairly limiting statements
For a contract that prevents you from easily seeking alternatives in a craft you know, you have to watch out for general clauses in your employment contract as regards to your own professional growth. Professional growth can include raises or promotions at different companies. A non-compete agreement may try to restrict an employee from taking a promotion at a competitor.
In sum, as you seek a new job or leave your current job, ensure you look out for these statements in whatever form they are written. When they get too difficult for you to understand them, you can contact us to help figure out the little details.
For more information, please look at our non-compete agreement page.