Dallas noncompete agreement lawyers help clients interpret, negotiate and litigate noncompete agreements. Noncompete agreements are contracts between employer and employee that affect the employee’s employment opportunities after employment. These agreements can have a powerful effect on a future job search. Treat them seriously. The employer may also call them covenants not to compete or restrictive covenants.
Non-compete agreements in Dallas, Texas
The primary purpose of a non-compete agreement is to protect the employer’s business or trade secrets from employees leaving employment. Many employers spend significant time and money developing proprietary systems, processes, products, services and customer information that allow them to compete within the market. This proprietary intellectual property would also carry value for other businesses in the Dallas, Texas area or businesses within the same industry. Employees inevitably gain access to this information through their employment. Once information is received, it cannot be removed from the employee so the employee becomes a way for one employer to obtain information about a competitor’s practices. Non-compete agreements protect the employer by limiting the employee’s future means of using trade secrets by limiting where they can work immediately after departing and how they use the employer’s trade secrets.
A secondary purpose is to prevent employees from developing relationships with customers or clients and then taking those relationships to a future employer. This is common in trade professions such as doctors, dentists, contractors, engineers, financial advisers and so forth. Often the customer or client’s real relationship is with an employee rather than the business. When the employee departs for a better job opportunity those customers or clients often want to follow. A non-compete agreement can act as a poison pill on the departing employee’s ability to take the employer’s consumers to another local business. The non-compete agreement can do this by prohibiting the employee from working in the same profession in the same geographic area or from soliciting consumers in the same manner.
Are non-compete agreements enforceable in Texas?
Yes, often non-compete agreements are enforceable under Texas law. Texas recognizes many terms in non-compete agreements as enforceable covenants between employee and employer. However, not all non-compete agreements are enforceable or completely enforceable. Texas law places limits on the power of an employer to control a departing employee’s destiny. Just as Texas law recognizes an employer’s need to maintain its competitiveness, Texas law also recognizes an employee’s need to earn a living and build a career.
Challenging noncompete agreements is not always an easy task. Employers hold real value in those covenants and employees may find a job search difficult with a non-compete agreement hanging around their necks. Employers will fight to protect their agreements so employees should work with non-compete lawyers in Dallas, Texas to assess opportunities to attack the non-compete agreement. Even when the agreement is not completely unenforceable, provisions may be unenforceable that allow the employee greater employment opportunities.