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Should I sign a non-compete agreement?

Should I sign a non-compete agreement?

You did it! You found a job that you think you’ll love. The pay and benefits are good, and everything seems to be working out just the way you hoped. Then it happens — your new manager asks you to sign a noncompete agreement. Should you do it?

It does not matter if you live in Florida or elsewhere, there are both pros and cons to agreeing to these contracts. It is okay to question whether you should sign it.

Non-compete agreement: What is it?

Employers utilize noncompete agreements to prevent their employees from sharing trade secrets or going into direct competition with them following their leave from the company.

What are the legal requirements for a non-compete agreement to be valid?

In order for a non-compete agreement to be valid, it must:

  • Be reasonable in regard to time, scope, and geography
  • Protect the business interests of the employer
  • Offer the employee incentive for agreeing to refrain from competition

Should I sign a non-compete agreement?

This really is up to you. If signing the agreement is required for employment and you really want the job, then it is certainly worth considering. That does not mean that you should sign without having the contract reviewed. It is always wise to have legal counsel look over a noncompete agreement before you sign it in order to make sure it is fair.

Is it possible for an employer to release me from the terms of a noncompete agreement?

The short answer to this is yes. It is possible, but it is not always easy to achieve and will really depend on your reasons for leaving the company. If the company is laying you off, you have a greater chance that your employer will release you from your non-compete agreement than if you were leaving because of a better job opportunity with a competing business.

Are the terms of non-compete agreements negotiable?

Possibly. If, after having your legal counsel review the contract, you have concerns about its validity, you can approach the company with those concerns and request modifications. Some employers will refuse to modify their agreements, but others may be willing, depending on what changes you are requesting.

Seeking legal assistance

If asked to sign a noncompete agreement, take a minute and consider the consequences. If you are unsure of how it will really affect you in the long run, seek legal assistance.

An experienced employment law attorney will be able to go over the non-compete agreement with you and explain it in terms that are easy for you to understand. Knowledge is power, and knowing exactly what your are signing will only work to serve your best interests.

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