One of my clients is fairly new to the job world. He’s transitioning from a small, family-run business to a career in sales. He recently accepted a job offer and signed a document call “Terms of Employment.” No big deal, he thought. Then he got an offer from another company, a better offer.
He asked me what he should do. I asked if he signed a non-compete agreement, which confused him. He had never heard of such a thing. I looked at the terms of employment, which did contain a rather restrictive non-compete agreement. I’m connecting my client with a lawyer who thinks the agreement is not valid. However, the bigger problem is that is exists at all.
Courts are giving more authority to companies to lock workers into non-compete agreements. Before you sign any kind of job document, read it carefully. If you don’t understand the document, take it to a lawyer. Once upon a time, non-competes were meant for elite employees who were very well compensated. Now they are one more tool that a boss can use to beat down a worker.
If my client’s non-compete holds, he would be very limited in where he could work for 18 months. He isn’t an elite skill employee, just a sales guy. There is no reason to lock this kind of employee into a non-compete. The problem is that he signed the document. Take a lesson and beware of any kind of contract or agreement that will limit your ability to get a new job.