Restrictive covenants, or non-compete agreements, are pretty common. A great many employers will ask an employee to sign a non-compete clause setting limitations on what a former employee can disclose after his or her employment ends.
You may have heard of restrictive covenants because of high-profile cases involving executives or broadcast personalities that are invited to join a competing employer. From a legal standpoint, it comes down to just what an employer can do to prevent competition. What steps may an employer take to limit an employee from leaving and joining a competitor? What may employees (or new employers) do to defend against claims of wrongful conduct?
Restrictive Covenant Agreements
The employment lawyers at our Norristown and Doylestown law offices deal with these issues and challenges on a daily basis. Our attorneys routinely draft noncompetition, nonsolicitation, and confidentiality agreements. But they also handle a great many other issues relating to restrictive covenants:
- Litigation to enforce restrictive covenants.
- Advise and represent employers in disputes over theft of trade secrets and confidential business information.
- Pursue claims that employees have taken business opportunities to a new employer in violation of the duty of loyalty to a former employer.
- Defend departing employees and future employers when former employers push too hard in enforcing restrictions.
Type of Restrictive Covenants
There are seven types of restrictive covenants. As an overview, here are they are:
- General non-compete
- Specific non-compete
- Customer non-solicitation covenant
- Employee non-solicitation covenant
- Confidentiality or non-disclosure clause
- Garden leave
- Assignment of property rights
Each of these seven restrictive covenants seeks to avoid competition in various forms and levels. You can get more details on each by reading this post, 7 types of Restrictive Covenants.
Our Business Law Attorneys Are Experienced
When representing a client in an employee mobility dispute, our employment lawyers draw on a large body of knowledge. We have helped to write and edit one of the key multi-state guides on restrictive covenants not to compete, trade secrets, the employee’s duty of loyalty, and tortious interference with employment contracts. We have a working knowledge of federal trade secret and computer fraud statutes. Our employment law attorneys also have current knowledge of the effect of social media usage in the employee mobility field.
Enforcing a Restrictive Covenant Agreement
Employee mobility legal services require litigation skills and business law knowledge of the specific issue. Our employment lawyers have had extensive experience in injunction proceedings, both in enforcing restrictions and in seeking to avoid restrictions. We work in federal and state trial and appellate courts in Pennsylvania and other states in the region. Our employment law attorneys handle matters before arbitration panels. We work hard to obtain quick, decisive, and workable results for our clients. If you'd like to learn more about enforcing non-compete agreements, you can read this article, What Makes a Post-Employment Restrictive Covenant Enforceable?
Understanding Garden Leave
Garden leave is a serious issue for employers. In a nutshell, it refers to an agreement where an employer pays a departing employee not to work before that employee. While the employee is on garden leave, the previous employer has the opportunity to contact the departing employee’s customers in an attempt to retain them. The departing employee has what amounts to a paid vacation and cannot work for a competitor during this period. Once this period ends and the employee starts with the new firm.
Garden leave gives you, as an employer, the opportunity to protect your business in the event a key employee leaves to go to a competitor. If you'd like to learn more about the topic, check out this post, What is Garden Leave? Our employment law attorneys can work with you on this specific restrictive covenant agreement to protect your business.
Protect Your Business with Restrictive Covenant Agreements
It only makes sense that you have some type of non-compete agreements in place to protect your business from an employee leaving and moving to a competitor. If you need help drafting a restrictive covenant agreement or are looking to enforce one, give our local law firm a call. Our employment lawyers are here to help.