Should I Require Noncompete Agreements for My Employees?

Noncompete agreements are used by employers to protect intellectual property or to stop former employees from poaching business. In some cases, employees may have cause to enter into litigation against a former employer if the noncompete agreement was too broad or poorly defined or if it unfairly limited the employee’s ability to find new employment. Employment contract signing concept - many uses for jobs and employment purpose.

A post on the Washington Post’s Wonkblog details a recent trend of noncompete agreements that some people might deem unfair. The post also discusses efforts by Senators Al Franken and Chris Murphy to curtail what they see to be unfair noncompete practices.

According to WonkBlog, Franken and Murphy are introducing legislation to ban noncompetes for employees making less than $15 an hour or $31,200 annually, except in jurisdictions where the minimum wage is higher.

Recent Trends in Noncompete Agreements

As written in WonkBlog’s post, several types of positions involve signing a noncompete these days: not just high-level executives and tech engineers, but also “sandwich makers and warehouse workers.”

Chris Collins, director of Cornell’s Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies, is quoted by Wonkblog as saying that “[f]rom 2008 to 2013, you didn’t hear anything about this stuff …[i]t’s always when the economy [improves] and people worry that they’re going to lose talent, that people start thinking about this stuff.”

Dangers of Strict Noncompetes

If you require signing a noncompete as a condition of employment, you should keep in mind that if the employee feels that the agreement unfairly limits other employment options, he or she could end up taking you to court.

By all means, protect your intellectual property and business prospects. But don’t let a harsh noncompete come back to haunt you. If you need legal advice about employment and business law, consider consulting a New Jersey business attorney about your noncompete agreement. We can let you know if a noncompete agreement is in your business’s best interests.

Garland & Mason, L.L.C. – Business Attorneys


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