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Legal requirements for non-competition agreements

Certain employers might want you to sign a non-competition agreement before starting a working relationship. It only takes effect once the employment relationship is over. The agreement has a clause under which you may not start a similar profession that competes with your current employer, once your employment relationship ends. Employers usually require such agreements to protect their trade secrets and goodwill. If dragged into court, such cases may be highly scrutinized. This is because courts do not approve of any contract that stands in the way of a person's right to earn a living.

There are several legal requirements to validate the agreement between the employee and employer. The employee must have considered all options when agreeing to sign. The agreement should genuinely protect a particular business interest of the employer.

In most cases, employees who sign non-competes must be rewarded by the organization. Before starting the employment relationship, the job itself may be the reward. However, if the employee signs after beginning employment, they must receive something in return. This compensation may be received in the form of monetary benefits or a promotion. The employer must provide an incentive that was not present at the time of employment.

If your employer has asked you to sign a non-competition agreement, you might want to contact an attorney to oversee the process. It is also advisable to consult an attorney if you feel your right to earn a living is being violated. The experience of an attorney may help you get a favorable decision.

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