Some employment opportunities are too good to be true. It may pay you more to work fewer hours than your current position. The entire job is a dream.
However, now, you are faced with a sticky situation. One of the terms of your current job was the execution of a non-compete agreement. This document placed restrictions on the type of job you could go to after the current one. While it seemed like a good idea at the time, now that you want to leave for a position that would violate this agreement, you don’t know what to do. Do you risk breaking the non-compete or pass up the dream opportunity? Discover what might happen if your current employer acts on a violation of a non-compete agreement.
Informing the New Employer
Some employers decide to act on enforcing a non-compete once they discover a breach. It usually begins with a letter to the employee and new employer, reminding both of the terms of the agreement. In this case, you may find yourself out of the dream job if you didn’t disclose the non-compete or if the new employer can fire you for any reason. The laws of the state you live in will dictate in most cases.
Action by the Previous Employer
Aside from getting you fired by the new employer, your previous company may choose to take legal action against you for violating the agreement. While this is rare, it can and does happen. Therefore, you need to be prepared for the lawsuit. One of the most important things you can do is seek an attorney to help you review your non-compete agreement. One of the quickest ways to strike down an action for breach is proving that the company itself has previously breached the agreement. Getting someone with a professional eye to review it is the best way to find the infraction.
Some companies require you to sign a non-compete agreement upon employment. You may want to give the job another thought if this is the case. While some businesses and industries have certain trade secrets that they want to keep a lid on, others don’t. Before signing anything that you aren’t sure about, it is a good idea to have an attorney review it. You may do better finding a new job rather than cornering yourself for several years after you leave it.
Asking for help in dealing with a non-compete agreement is the best thing you can do. Consult a business litigation attorney in Maryland to find out more.
Thanks to Brown Kiely, LLP for their insight into business law and non-compete agreements.