Many employers use non-competition agreements to protect their customer relationships, good will and confidential information. However, many courts are skeptical of non-competition restrictions. Employees may also object to non-competition restrictions, which can cause recruiting and morale concerns.
Other challenges exist in this area of the law, such as:
- Implementing restrictive covenants with individuals who are already employed, but have not signed any agreements.
- Identifying and articulating the business interests that courts require employers to show before their non-competes will be enforced.
- Handling trade secrets and proprietary business information in a way that demonstrates the organization has taken reasonable internal steps to maintain the confidentiality of its information.
- Hiring and onboarding employees who have signed non-competes and similar agreements with other competitors. As mentioned above, courts often refuse to enforce non-competes, or they enforce only parts of various restrictions. Balancing the rewards from hiring a strong performer against the risks of litigation can be extremely challenging, especially since judges generally have broad discretion in deciding what is and isn’t “reasonable” when it comes to noncompetition provisions.
Taft attorneys have represented employers on both sides of non-competition agreements. We have litigated and tried cases enforcing these restrictions and cases seeking to avoid enforcement. With that well-rounded base of experience, we are well-versed in the arguments both for and against, as well as how best to present the evidence to convince a court that our position is the correct one under the law and the facts.
Many of our attorneys have industry-specific experience with non-competition agreements, which gives us deeper insight into how non-competes are best handled in fields like healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, logistics and other professional contexts.
When employers are considering a new hire who has signed a non-competition agreement, Taft attorneys can help choreograph the interview and onboarding process to position the company and the new employee in the best possible light for responding to demand letters or defending a lawsuit that the former employer might have initiated. We use our experience in litigating these disputes to craft clear and effective non-competition, non-solicitation and non-disclosure agreements that maximize the likelihood that a court will enforce them.