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Should a Lawyer Review a Non-Compete Agreement?

Posted by Jamison Mark on Nov 7, 2014 12:00:00 PM

jimmy_johnsAfter diligently searching for work and going on an interview, you have found a new job and are excited to begin work.  Before you begin, your employer asks you to review some company policies and sign some documents.  Some of these documents, such as tax forms, are common, and you may remember them from when you started a previous job.  Within the documents, however, there is an unfamiliar or cryptic item titled “Non-Compete Agreement.” What should you do? Perhaps you should consider hiring a lawyer to review the document before you sign it.

Workers across Essex County, in towns like Belleville, Nutley, Newark and the Oranges, may be asked by their employers to sign non-compete agreements. Basically, a non-compete agreement is a type of employment contract, under which the employee gains employment in exchange for agreeing to not directly compete with or expose any trade secrets of his employer.  For some professions, such as in the medical field, these agreements are common, while in many others, non-compete agreements are not typically used. In practice, non-compete agreements are usually enforceable as long as they are not overly broad in scope, time, or location and are related to the type of work the employee actually performs.

At times, non-compete agreements can be unfair.  For instance, it was recently reported that sandwich chain Jimmy John’s has been requesting its employees sign a non-compete agreement. While this type of agreement may make sense in a field such as medicine, it seems unusually restrictive for workers who make and sell sandwiches.  In fact, this agreement seems so unfair that employees who were forced to sign it are now suing on the basis that the document is overly broad and oppressive.

How do you know whether a non-compete agreement is fair or an illegal restriction on your employment mobility?  Unfortunately, you may not be able to know on your own.  Instead, you may have to hire an experienced employment attorney who can read and interpret the terms of your company’s non-compete agreement. The attorneys at the Mark Law Firm are experienced in many aspects of employment law, including non-compete agreements.  Our lawyers can review a non-compete agreement before you sign it and advise you as to whether or not it is legitimate, or we can help you in evaluating the validity of a non-compete agreement you signed in the past.  In either situation, we are ready to help and will make sure that you and your rights receive the respect that they deserve.

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Image: By Jimmy John's Franchise, LLC [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Topics: Employment Law

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