Before you sign an employment contract, it's imperative to review the terms and conditions. If there's anything that makes you uncomfortable, such as the inclusion of a noncompete agreement, you'll want to discuss it with the company before you put pen to paper.
For a noncompete agreement to be considered valid, it must include the following:
- Be reasonable in regard to time, geography and scope
- Be available for review by the employee before signing
- Protect a legitimate business interest
When deciding whether to sign a noncompete agreement, consider whether or not the terms and conditions are reasonable.
For example, if the agreement states that you can't moonlight for a competitor while working at your current job, that's a reasonable request.
However, if the agreement states that you can't work for a competitor for a period of five years after termination, you may want to think twice.
When the court system is staffed with the responsibility of deciding whether to enforce a noncompete agreement, a focus on balance moves to the forefront. The agreement should help protect the business interests of the employer, without impeding the employee's ability to earn a living.
The best way to protect against a mistake is to get a legal review before signing an employment contract with a noncompete agreement. This will help you better understand what it entails and whether it's fair.
If you've run into trouble getting a job as a result of an unfair noncompete agreement, don't hesitate to learn more about your legal rights. You need to earn a living, and you don't want an unfair agreement to stop you.