On behalf of H. Clay Parker, Esq. posted in Noncompete Agreements on Tuesday, March 7, 2017.
The Florida job market can be tough these days. Finding a new job that offers competitive wages and benefits is often easier said than done, not to mention hoping to score a position that comes with any job security. To complicate matters even more, many employers now want you to sign various types of contracts before they add you to their payrolls. In fact, some even require people they have already employed to sign certain agreements in order to receive severance pay if the company terminates their positions.
You might have heard of (or have had experience with) non-compete agreements. Companies use this term loosely to refer to different types of contracts. The three most common agreements requested by employers today are non-compete contracts, non-solicitation agreements and non-disclosures.
What’s the difference?
These three types of contracts are each a bit different and require you to agree to different stipulations. Here’s a basic rundown:
· Non-compete agreement: Also referred to as a clause or covenant. If you sign one of these, you typically agree not to work in a similar profession for a competitor of your employer – usually within a particular geographical area.
· Non-solicitation agreement: Generally speaking, signing this one means you have promised not to entice any co-workers to come work with you at a new job, and it also means you will not try to get your former employer’s customers or suppliers to patronize your new place of business.
· Non-disclosures: You might have heard about people leaving one job then providing a new employer with a client list or other pertinent business information that may boost sales or take business away from a former employer. Signing this agreement means you will not do that.
Sitting in an interview with a prospective new employer who is pushing paperwork across a desk asking you sign these types of contracts to seal the deal can be very stressful. You might be worried you’ll lose the job opportunity if you don’t sign. However, signing something you haven’t thoroughly reviewed doesn’t seem like a good idea either. Many others in Florida relate to this type of business-related pressure. Some simply ask potential employers if it’s okay to take the contracts home to read carefully before making their decisions.
A validly signed contract is enforceable by law. However, if you sign something for your job and later face a problem due to the contract in question, it helps to keep in mind that the court typically does not enforce agreements it finds unreasonable. How the court interprets that varies by state. If a concern arises regarding a signed agreement or other business-related matter, it never hurts to discuss the situation with an experienced business and commercial law attorney for guidance.