Atlanta Non-Compete & Non-Solicitation Agreement Attorneys
Fighting for the rights of Georgia employees
Employees may choose to make a job change for numerous reasons including to earn more money, start their own business, secure a position that better fits their skills or ambitions, or work in an environment better suited to them.
Employers generally don’t want competitors – especially competitors they’ve trained or who developed contacts with customers. To prevent competition, employers often require that employees sign non-compete and non-solicitation agreements either at the time of hiring, during their employment, or as a condition of receiving severance benefits. These agreements can severely restrict or prevent you from starting your own business or working for another employer, so you should be extremely careful before signing such an agreement. At Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP, our Atlanta non-compete & non-solicit agreement attorneys are experienced in all aspects of such agreements. They fight for your right to control your employment destiny.
This was my first time having to seek legal counsel on an employment issue so I was a bit nervous about the process. I was referred to Ed Buckley by a friend I respect and trust, and one that has over 20 years of experience in law. Mr. Buckley made the process much less intimidating for me. Many thanks to Mr. Buckley and team for helping me. I'd definitely hire them again. – Google review
How can we help?
- Do I need an attorney for a non-compete/non-solicitation dispute?
- What are non-compete agreements?
- What are non-solicitation agreements?
- Are non-compete and non-solicitation agreements enforceable in Georgia?
- Are non-compete agreements even legal?
- How are non-compete and non-solicitation disputes resolved?
- Do you have a non-compete and non-solicitation attorney near me?
Do I need an attorney for a non-compete/non-solicitation dispute?
You should be very careful when presented with an agreement that looks like it contains non-compete or non-solicitation restrictions. Georgia courts typically enforce these agreements as written, unless they find that the time, geographic, or other applicable restrictions are too broad. Even then, Georgia courts may modify an otherwise overbroad agreement so that the employee is still restricted in some way.
Furthermore, if you breach one of these agreements, the employer could bring a lawsuit against you to enforce the agreement, and if it wins, it could seek damages and other relief from you, including payment for 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. Even if you ultimately win, such disputes can be a serious drain on your time and financial resources.
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. And if you are considering a job change, you should seek out legal counsel to review any agreements you have already signed.
At Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP, 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.
What are non-compete agreements?
A non-compete agreement restricts your ability to work in your chosen profession in the following ways:
- Restricts you from engaging in a competing business during your employment
- Specifies the period of time you are not allowed to engage in a competing business after you leave your employment
- Specifies 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 from working in sales for another computer company.
Although typically these agreements should not last more than two years, and should prohibit you only from working for a competitor in the general area where you previously worked, some employers try to secure much more restrictive agreements. And with modern global industry and commerce, employers often seek to impose very broad geographical restrictions, such as the entire United States.
What are non-solicitation agreements?
Employers often also request that employees sign a non-solicitation agreement to:
- Seek to restrict you from soliciting clients of the company from doing business with you after you leave your company.
- Seek to restrict you from soliciting other employees from the company to join your new business or employer after you leave
Restrictive covenants may also require that employees do not use or disclose trade secrets, confidential information and other intellectual property.
Like non-compete provisions, non-solicitation agreements have duration limits. Unlike non-compete provisions, they are not required to have geographical restrictions.
Employers usually try to make non-solicitation agreements as broad as possible. Our Atlanta employment lawyers fight to make non-solicitation agreements as narrow as possible.
Non-solicitation agreements do not apply to clients who did not have a relationship with the employer or customers with whom the employee did not have material contact.
Are non-compete agreements and non-solicitation provisions enforceable in Georgia?
Yes. They are generally enforceable in Georgia even though they directly affect your ability to earn a living. However, not all agreements are valid or legally binding. Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP can review your agreement to determine:
- Whether there is sufficient consideration for agreeing to not compete and/or not to solicit clients and customers. Consideration includes continued employment, additional pay, vacation time, a plum assignment, or other benefits.
- How the restrictive agreement affects the rest of the agreement.
- The type of work involved. Generally, non-compete clauses are limited to employees who work in sales, have certain management duties, regularly solicit business, or are considered “key employees” or “professionals.” Non-solicitation agreements are not limited in this manner.
- How long an employee must comply with the restrictions.
- The geographical area of the restrictions for a non-compete provision.
- The terms of the restrictions.
Our Atlanta non-compete & non-solicit agreement attorneys are skilled at evaluating these agreements and raising any potential defenses you may have such as showing that your new job does not violate the restrictions, that you did not receive proper consideration, that permitting the restriction would be unconscionable, or that other defenses apply.
Are non-compete agreements even legal?
Please know that the trend is shifting towards employees and away from employees when it comes to enforcing non-compete and non-solicitation agreements. Non-compete agreements are not enforceable in California, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and the District of Columbia. In Illinois, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Washington, and Massachusetts there are laws that make non-compete agreements illegal for low-wage workers.
According to NPR, the White House administration recently asked the Federal Trade Commission to ban or limit non-compete agreements to help promote economic growth. The position of the White House is that non-compete provisions make it tougher for employees to move to better-paying jobs which drives down wages.
NPR reports that about half of private-sector businesses use non-competes for some of their employees affecting between 36 and 60 million workers. NPR added that while many non-competes involved highly educated employees, about 30 percent of businesses require non-competes for workers who make below $13 per hour.
How are non-compete and non-solicitation disputes resolved?
Such disputes may be resolved before a judge and/or jury or in arbitration in some cases. At Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP, our attorneys are skilled at persuasively arguing your employment rights in any setting.
Do you have a non-compete and non-solicitation attorney near me?
Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP is located at 600 Peachtree St. NE, Suite 3900 in Atlanta. We also conduct phone and video consultations by appointment, and proudly serve clients throughout Georgia, including those in Athens, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, and Savannah.
We have a strong record of successfully taking on the largest employers in Atlanta and Georgia. We’ll fight to secure your economic future.
Contact our Atlanta employment law attorneys today
Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP understands why employees move to new jobs or have the ambition to take part in the American dream by starting their own businesses. The world is changing quickly and constantly. Why shouldn’t skilled employees be able to move as the world moves? Our Atlanta non-compete and non-solicitation attorneys assert your right to participate in the American economy. We proudly represent employees throughout Georgia. To fight to remove onerous work restrictions, please call or contact us today.