If your Texas employer wants you to sign a non-compete agreement, it is important for you to take this document seriously. Failing to abide by the terms could land you in court. However, if the terms of the agreement are unreasonable, it may be that the judge will side with you. The law requires that the restrictions be reasonable in order for the agreement to be enforceable.
The goal of the non-compete should not be to prevent you from finding work in your field. The Dallas Business Journal explains that the document’s purpose is to keep you from using your knowledge of the company to gain unfair advantage over it in the marketplace. Knowledge of the company that may harm it includes the following:
- Trade secrets
- Customer lists
- Employee relationships
- Confidential information
- Referral sources
- Specialized training
Within the document, your employer should spell out exactly what the scope of the restricted activity is, what geographic area is covered, what customers are included and how long the restriction will last.
The restricted activity cannot be a job you did not perform for the employer. You may be able to get a job at a competing company performing work that does not require you to divulge your knowledge of your employer. In addition, you may not be restricted from working in a geographic area that is outside the scope of your former employer’s interests.
Most courts will not enforce a noncompete that lasts longer than two years. After a certain amount of time, the confidential information you hold may no longer be considered relevant or restrictive to the company’s success. The judge is likely to weigh whether the employer took this factor seriously when deciding on the restrictions.
This general overview does not include all the factors that may make a non-compete unenforceable; therefore, it should not be interpreted as legal advice.