Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) July 27, 2017 - Austin employment attorney, Gregory Jordan says that both workers and employers need to understand the consequences of signing non-compete agreements, as they are being used more frequently in Texas.
“Non-compete agreements were originally used to keep high-level employees from taking a company’s trade secrets to the competition, but they are now being used to try to keep an increasingly broad spectrum of employees from entering into competition with their employer,” said Gregory D. Jordan, an employment attorney with the Law Offices of Gregory D. Jordan in Austin, Texas who has handled hundreds of disputes involving non-compete agreements.
Experts say that about 37 percent of American workers have signed a non-compete agreement at some point in their careers, and 20 percent of employees are currently bound by one. But in order to be enforceable under Texas law, non-compete agreements with employees must generally meet a number of requirements. One requirement is that the non-compete clause must be ancillary to or part of an otherwise enforceable agreement, with consideration such as specialized training or access to confidential information. As well, the agreement must be reasonably limited in geographical area, duration and scope of activity.
“Whether the limitations are reasonable is often key to the enforceability of a non-compete agreement,” said Jordan. “Employers should not attempt to draft or enforce such agreements without the advice of an attorney, and workers should not make any assumptions about whether a particular non-compete agreement is enforceable. There are many other reasons why a non-compete might be unenforceable beyond the reasonableness of the restrictions,” explains Jordan.
Some critics suggest that non-compete agreements are being overused, as low-wage workers typically do not have access to high-level trade secrets. However, employers may wish to protect themselves from ex-employees seeking to start their own business and take customers with them. While each state treats non-compete agreements somewhat differently, Texas courts will enforce the agreements as long as they comport with Texas law.
“Whether you are a worker or an employer, when a non-compete agreement is an issue, it is a good idea to talk with an attorney,” said Jordan.
Law Offices of Gregory D. Jordan
5608 Parkcrest Drive, Suite 310
Austin, Texas 78731