When taking a new job, many employees are required to sign “non-compete” agreements, which set forth certain requirements should the relationship end. Non-competes may set forth that an employee cannot work for a competitor within a certain number of years, or compete for the same clients. Often new hires are reluctant to read the fine print in these agreements or to suggest changes or demands for fear of losing a job offer, or getting off on the wrong foot with a new employer. However, when employees leave they may be regret not paying more attention to the restrictions placed on them for obtaining new work or employment. As a result, it is important to make sure before you start your new job that any non-compete agreement you sign is fair from both sides. An experienced employment attorney can review your non-compete to help ensure your rights as an employee are protected.
If you do find yourself in the situation of starting a new position, or wanted to leave a job but worried about the restrictions of a non-compete, certain guidelines exist that may make the non-competes unenforceable. For example, if the agreement is “unconscionable” or exceedingly one-sided, the agreement may be voided. Additionally, if the agreement violates any law, it will likely be unenforceable. This includes seemingly unrelated employment issues. In a recent case, an employer tried to enforce a non-compete agreement restricting the former employee from working for a competitor expressly covered in the agreement. However, the former employee was able to show that she was not paid property during her training, and thus in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). As a result, her employment agreement and non-compete were found void and unenforceable. SpaceAge Consulting Corp. v. Maria Vizconde et al. (case no. A-3444-15T1)
Before you sign a non-compete, or if you have left a job and worry about the enforceability of your former employer’s non-compete, it is important to have an experienced Atlanta non-compete attorney review your agreement. For more information, please contact the experienced Georgia non-compete lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.