Many businesses in New York require each employee to sign a non-compete clause. These contracts prevent employees from entering into or starting a similar profession or trade that will compete with the employer. Without a non-compete agreement, an ex-employee can immediately gain a competitive edge by exploiting trade secrets, employee operations and confidential information. Employees who aren’t prevented from doing so may even use sensitive information such as client lists, knowledge of upcoming products and information regarding business operations.
But, unless a non-compete agreement is carefully written, it might not be enforceable. Companies that fail to heavily scrutinize their non-compete agreements could find that they aren’t enforceable and that former employees can work wherever they wish. To determine if your non-compete agreement is enforceable, you should first review the reason for your non-compete.
Non-compete agreements in New York are often scrutinized in court. One of the factors that will affect the effectiveness of the agreement is whether the employee is a contract employee or an at-will employee:
- AT-WILL EMPLOYEES have no contractual rights to continued employment. Employers can terminate employment at any time and with no reason at all. At-will employees are often allowed to find other work after they are let go regardless of the non-competition agreement they signed.
- CONTRACT EMPLOYEES have an agreement that guarantees employment over a designated period of time. Contract employees regularly have to abide by the terms of their non-compete agreement.
A business lawyer is not only necessary to help employers create non-compete agreements, but also to help employees who have been accused of violating the terms of an agreement. Whether you are worried about your employees using your secrets against you or an employee who wishes to work despite signing an agreement, you need legal guidance. An experienced New York business lawyer will ensure that your best interests are protected. Contact the attorneys of The Internicola Law Firm, P.C. at (800) 976-4904 to discuss your situation.