Non-Compete & Non-Solicit Agreements
After years of working for a boss, many employees get the entrepreneurial bug--they want to go off on their own and launch a new business. That's great. However, many employers try to prevent their employees from leaving their job and starting competing businesses by requiring them to sign non-compete and non-solicitation agreements. These agreements can prevent you from starting your own business or even working for another employer, so you should be extremely careful before signing anything that looks like one of these types of agreements.
Make an appointment to speak with our Atlanta employment attorneys: (404) 471-3725.
In the typical non-compete agreement, your employer will:
- Restrict you from engaging in a competing business during your employment
- Specify the period of time you are not allowed to engage in a competing business after you leave your employment
- Specify the geographical area in which you are prohibited from engaging in a competing business
For example, if you work in sales for a computer company, your company may ask you to sign a non-compete agreement prohibiting you firm working in sales for another computer company. Although typically these agreements do not last more than two years, and only prohibit you from working for a competitor in the general area where you previously worked, some employers try to obtain much more restrictive agreements. Your employer may seek to prevent you from competing for a five or 10-year period, or to prohibit you from working for a competitor anywhere in the world.
In the typical non-solicitation agreement, your employer will:
- Seek to restrict you from soliciting current clients of your firm from doing business with you
- Seek to restrict you from soliciting clients of the firm from doing business with you after you leave your company.
- Seek to restrict you from soliciting other employees from your company to join your new business after you leave
Like non-compete agreements, non-solicitation agreements typically have time and geographical restrictions, but unscrupulous employers will often seek to include extremely broad time and geographic restrictions, which may put your new business out of business.
Talk to Our Experienced Atlanta Employment Attorneys First
You should be very careful when dealing with an agreement that looks like a non-compete or non-solicitation agreement. The Georgia courts typically enforce these agreements as written, unless they find some sort of serious misconduct by the employer, or that the time and geographic restrictions are too broad. Furthermore, if you breach one of these agreements, the employer could bring a lawsuit against you to enforce the agreement, and it wins, it could seek damages and other relief from you, including disgorgement of any profits you make in your new business, an order barring you from working for your new employer, and even make you pay your employer's attorneys' fees.
In other words, a mistake in this area could seriously impair your ability to make a living. That's why you should seek out legal counsel immediately whenever your employer asks you to sign such an agreement.
At Buckley Beal, we have years of experience in dealing with these types of agreements, and we can get involved on your behalf at any stage in the process to make sure your rights are fully protected. But we can't help you unless you reach out to us.
Turn to our team for help today. Call us at (404) 471-3725 to get started.