Owning your own business has significant rewards, but it also comes with countless headaches and potential challenges, especially where employees are concerned. One of the most concerning aspects is the very real possibility that workers will leave and that the investment of time and money you put into hiring and training them will be wasted – or benefit another employer. Even worse is the chance that employees with proprietary knowledge will carry your trade secrets or customers to a competitor.
Non-compete contracts are legal documents that are meant to address these concerns. A well-crafted non-compete contract can protect your legitimate business interests. But non-compete contracts have become a topic of both confusion and controversy in the last few years. While some believe that they are unenforceable, others believe that they are unethical. Both can be true depending upon the document itself. This is why it’s important that you use a non-compete contract that specifically addresses the needs of your business.
If you have begun to research non-compete contracts online, there is no doubt that you’ve come across numerous templates that are available for download. It is tempting to save on expenses by using one of these rather than seeking the help of a law firm. But online non-compete contracts are generically written and do not address the particulars of your relationship with your employers or the specifics of your organization. This significantly increases the chances that the language it contains will be viewed as unenforceable. In other words, the legal help that it provides will be worth exactly what you paid for it: nothing.
In order for a non-compete contract to be enforceable, its terms must be viewed as being reasonably necessary to protect your legitimate business interests without unfairly restraining your employees’ ability to be gainfully employed. They must be reasonable in terms of the restrictions that they place in terms of length of time, geographic area, and the industry within which an employee can work.
Because every industry and every occupation is different, it is nearly impossible for a free template that you download from the internet to meet the legal requirements. To ensure that you are fully protecting yourself and your business with an enforceable document that is fair to both you and your employees, contact our law firm today.