Business contracts are valuable tools that protect the interests of both the business and employees. When used properly, these agreements can lay the foundation for cooperation and a beneficial relationship between a business and other parties, such as employees. Your former employer may have required you to sign an employment contract when you took your role with the company. However, it is now time for you to move on, and your employment contract could affect your future in different ways.
As part of many employment contracts, employers often include non-compete agreements. These are clauses or separate contracts that outline restrictions regarding where an employee can work after leaving the company. Non-compete agreements can restrict where you can work in the future, possibly hindering the advancement of your career. You might find yourself in a place where you are exploring ways to get out of a non-compete agreement.
Protecting your future interests
The intent of a non-compete agreement is to shield a company from having its proprietary information and trade secrets protected. The terms of these agreements often restrict where a former employee can work, keeping them from providing private information to a competitor. However, these agreements could also prevent you from taking the next step in your career or making decisions that are best for your family. If a non-compete agreement is negatively impacting you, the following steps may help you find relief:
- Carefully read the terms of the agreement to determine exactly what they mean for you. If there are any that are unnecessarily restrictive or not legally enforceable, the entire contract may be invalid.
- Consider negotiating a release from the agreement with your former employer. Reasonable terms could allow both parties to move forward without litigation.
- Understand the repercussions if you choose to ignore the agreement. It is possible your former employer will not do anything in response to you ignoring the terms of your contract, but there is a chance he or she will bring legal action against you.
If you have concerns about a non-compete agreement, you may benefit from seeking the support and guidance of an experienced professional who can evaluate the contract and provide an explanation of the legal options available to you. It is possible there are specific steps that would allow you to get out of an unfair non-compete agreement and take the next important step in your career in West Virginia.