If you're being asked to sign a non-compete agreement at your job, you're in good company. Whitehouse.gov suggests that approximately 37 percent of workers will have to agree to a non-compete at some point in their careers. With such a high number of employees being asked to sign documents, it is important to research before adding your signature to anything.
Here are three things to keep in mind about non-compete agreements.
1. Restrictions cannot be unreasonable
Generally, these agreements limit what sort of business you can do, where you can practice and the length of time the document is valid after you leave the company. But some business owners attempt to enforce additional unreasonable restrictions in non-compete agreements. While a business owner may think he or she can include any number of miles or years, the terms must be reasonable and, if a judge rules they are not, the agreement becomes void.
2. You must receive consideration
In the legal world, the term "consideration" means receiving something of value in exchange for your agreement. When it comes to a non-compete document, this is important because some business owners are unaware of this aspect. If you did not receive anything for consideration, the agreement becomes void.
In many cases, this point is naturally enforced because a business owner will likely refuse to give you a job unless you sign a non-compete. Things become more complicated if you are a current employee being asked to sign an agreement. In this case, your employer must provide something of value in exchange for your agreement.
3. Each document is unique
Some business owners decide to write their own non-compete to save money, but these slight differences and small details can play a big role in determining the strength of the document. If a business owner neglects important aspects, the agreement can become ineffective and be dismissed in court. Florida Weekly advises business owners to decide which aspects of their business need to be protected and which employees need to sign an agreement rather than attempting to have every worker sign.
If you have doubts about the agreement you are being asked to sign, an attorney can review the document and, if necessary, ensure that your rights are protected and upheld in court. Whether you are being hired on at a new company or being asked to sign a new agreement at your current job, it is vital to take a close and careful look before you sign a non-compete agreement.