If you have been offered a job in Houston, Texas and are being asked to sign a non-compete agreement, or if a former employer is trying to enforce a non-compete agreement against you, Moore & Associates are Houston, Texas employment lawyers who can review your agreement, help you understand your responsibilities and rights, and protect your interests. Our attorneys can also help you if your current employer is asking you to sign a non-compete agreement. If you are being offered a promotion and are being asked to sign a non-compete agreement, you may want to speak to an employment lawyer to understand your rights.
A non-compete agreement is a contract that an employer might ask a new hire to sign requiring that the employee not work for a competitor or start their own business as a competitor for a specific period of time. Non-compete agreement law varies from state to state, but in Texas, non-compete agreements are enforceable as long as they are reasonable and serve a legitimate business interest. What is reasonable? Generally, non-compete agreements must be very specific in order to be enforceable. This means that they must only be valid for a specific period of time, generally for a year or two after employment ends. They must also only apply to a specific geographical area. Finally, the non-compete agreement must specify the field or areas of work where the employee is barred from working.
In the past, non-compete agreements were used to protect trade secrets and clients when companies hired executives or CEOs. Generally, when the employment period ended, these workers would receive some kind of severance package to cover them for the period of time the non-compete agreement was in place. However, in recent years, companies of all kinds have been using non-compete agreements when hiring new workers. These agreements can limit a worker’s ability to negotiate a higher wage by seeking new jobs in their field and can limit competition. If you are being asked to sign a non-compete agreement in Houston, Texas, it is important to consider the implications the agreement can have for your career. Moore & Associates can review this contract with you to determine whether it is in your best interest to sign. Furthermore, if a former employer is threatening to enforce a non-compete agreement, Moore & Associates may be able to look at the agreement to see if it is enforceable, and fight to protect your rights.
Is the Non-Compete Agreement Legally Valid?
Not all non-compete agreements are legally valid. If the non-compete agreement you signed was too broad in terms of its enforceability, not specific enough, or didn’t specify a time-period during which the non-compete agreement was valid, the agreement may not be enforceable in court. If a former employer is trying to enforce a non-compete agreement that is not legally valid, and this is interfering with you seeking a job, you may be able to ask your former employer to cease and desist and may also be able to pursue damages if a non-valid non-compete agreement is getting in the way of your finding work in your field.
Moore & Associates are non-compete agreement lawyers in Houston, Texas who can review a non-compete agreement before you sign it. If you are being asked to sign a non-compete agreement and it is not legally valid, what are your options? You can sign the agreement understanding that it might not be enforceable, but your employer could always try to send the agreement to any future employer should you try to seek a job in your field or you may need to challenge the agreement in court if you need to find work in your field. Defending yourself against an invalid non-compete agreement can be time-consuming and costly. A better alternative is negotiating with your employer to make the agreement more enforceable, but more specific in scope, or you can refuse to sign the agreement altogether. The choice you’ll make will depend on your career, your field, the type of agreement you are being asked to sign, and the kind of job you are being offered. If you are being asked to sign a non-compete agreement in Houston, Texas, consider speaking to Moore & Associates today.
Valid Non-Compete Agreements in Houston, Texas
While courts may not look favorably on enforcing invalid non-compete agreements, there are certainly cases where non-compete agreements may be valid and enforceable. For example, if you will hold a high-level executive position, will work with your company’s most lucrative customers or clients, or will encounter trade secrets during the course of your job, your employer may have valid reasons for asking you to sign a non-compete agreement. If you sign a non-compete agreement, it is important to understand that you are signing a binding contract that can limit the work you can do after you leave the job. Many employees who sign valid non-compete agreements might ask for things like severance or benefits to protect them during the term the non-compete agreement is valid. If you are being asked to sign a non-compete agreement for a high-level position in Houston, Texas, Moore & Associates are employment lawyers who can help you understand the contract, your responsibilities, and rights, and may be able to negotiate with your employer for terms that are mutually beneficial and protective. Contact Moore & Associates today to learn more.
Being Asked to Sign a Non-Compete Agreement After You Have Been Hired?
It is one thing to be asked to sign a non-compete agreement before you are hired, another thing to be asked to sign a non-compete agreement once you are employed. If your employer threatens you with your job if you fail to sign the agreement, you may have rights under the law. Furthermore, if you were coerced into signing this type of agreement (such as being threatened with termination if you don’t sign), the agreement may not be enforceable. However, there are certain exceptions to this. For example, if you are up for promotion to a position where you’ll be dealing with new clients, trade secrets, or other legitimate business interests and your employer asks you to sign the non-compete agreement before you take on these additional duties or new role, the agreement may be valid. If you are not sure what to do because you have been asked to sign a non-compete agreement by your employer, consider reaching out to the employment lawyers at Moore & Associates today. Our attorneys can help you understand your rights and fight for your interests.