It’s obvious how a non-solicitation agreement can protect an employer, but what about the employee who’s asked to sign one? How does an employee with nothing but good intentions make sure that they are making their new boss happy while also protecting their ability to use their skills and knowledge in the future?
Non-solicitation agreements effectively restrict a business’s employees from soliciting their clients or their employees on behalf of themselves or another organization. Here are the things that both employers and employees need to look for within these contracts to ensure that they are both fair and effective:
- The scope of the agreement needs to be clear. Details need to include what specific actions the agreement is prohibiting, including who can’t be solicited and how long the non-solicitation period lasts. A contract that covers an unreasonable period is likely to be struck down and considered unenforceable by a court.
- Any restriction included in a non-solicitation agreement must also include information about the geographic area that the employee is being limited to. Again, an unreasonably expansive area is likely to be frowned upon by the courts.
- Before signing or asking an employee to sign a non-solicitation agreement, an employer should consider the necessity of the agreement. How sensitive is the information that the employee has access to? There may be good reason to ask an employee who knows proprietary company information or who has knowledge of pricing or profit information while there may be no need to ask the same of an administrative assistant. If an employee does know trade secrets or other confidential information, an employer should make sure that they include language specific to protecting that proprietary information.
- The agreement must be very clear as to what solicitation means. There is a difference between preventing an employee from trying to persuade a client to abandon their business relationship in favor of another company and simply maintaining a relationship after years of working together.
- Each organization should keep industry standards in mind when creating its non-solicitation agreement. This is a good way to make sure that you are adhering to standards that are reasonable and enforceable.
- It is important that the terms you ask an employee to sign are fair to them and do not restrict their ability to earn a living.
Non-solicitation agreements are some of the most important legal contracts that a business can have in place. To make sure that your business is well protected, contact our experienced law firm today.