What Are Noncompete Agreements?

What Are Noncompete Agreements

Noncompete agreements, also known as covenants-not-to-compete, are required by some employers when an employee is starting a new job, but an employee can ask an employee to sign a noncompete agreement at any time.  Most noncompete agreements state that the employee will agree not to start a competing business, or go to work for a competitor within a specified geographic area for a certain period of time after leaving. Some even include a clause prohibiting employees from revealing proprietary (confidential) information after the employment relationship ends.

How Does a Noncompete Agreement work?

A noncompete agreement is a contract. In a valid contract, there must be an offer, acceptance, and consideration.  Consideration is a bargain for exchange in money, goods, services, or a promise to do or refrain from doing something.  For a noncompete agreement to be valid, you should receive something in exchange for your promise not to take other employment opportunities in your geographic area or your profession.  The consideration in the case of noncompete agreements is often a job.

How Will Noncompete Agreements Limit You?

In general, noncompete agreements must be reasonable and cannot place too many restrictions on the employee.  Since noncompete agreements limit the competition an employer will face, sometimes long after the employee leaves the company, some states don’t allow noncompete agreements at all, while other states limit the duration and geographic scope of such agreements.  States limit the scope of noncompete agreements by not enforcing agreements that last too long, cover too much territory, or otherwise place too many limits on an employee’s right to move on to other employment opportunities without leaving their profession.

Contact An Attorney in Tampa If You Want to Negotiate a Noncompete Agreement

Noncompete agreements may not be in your best interest but are usually in the best interest of your future employer.  If your job requires you to sign a noncompete agreement that seems broad in scope, you should reach out to an experienced attorney to help negotiate the agreement. If you have already signed an agreement that could significantly restrict your ability to earn a living, you should consult an attorney before changing jobs.