Non-Compete and Non-Disclosure Agreements
“If I sign a non-compete and non-disclosure agreement, can I work in the same field for a different company? I want to make sure I’m not limiting my future career options.”
Many employers require their employees to sign non-compete and non-disclosure agreements as a condition of employment. There are a number of reasons for such agreements, although the primary stated reason is that companies want to protect their investment in you and their own information.
A non-disclosure agreement protects trade secrets, intellectual property, or any other special information obtained by an executive during his employment. While these agreements are almost always required, you should be careful not to sign one that would limit you from using publicly available information or knowledge you developed on your own. Even though the agreements may not be enforceable, it may take years to litigate the coverage.
A non-compete agreement may be enforceable if it is:
- Necessary to protect an employer’s legitimate business interest;
- Reasonably limited in geographic scope and duration;
- Reasonably limited to the scope of occupation; and
- Supported by consideration.
But, even in those situations, there may still be a way out.
Severance packages may also include critical non-compete and non-disclosure agreements. Before signing, be knowledgeable of the effects any such agreement may have on your future ability to obtain employment.
This information is not a do-it-yourself guide to resolving employment disputes or handling employment litigation. While some may find this useful for understanding the basic issues and their legal context, it is NOT a substitute for experienced legal counsel and does not provide legal advice. Please contact the team at Gordon Law Group to discuss your specific case.