There is a great legal debate about whether or not non-compete agreements are enforceable. The answer is: sometimes they are.
“If you’re offered an executive level job and salary and other issues are under negotiation, get an experienced Dallas business lawyer to assist you,” said Ty Gomez, who writes for the Dallas based Gomez Law Group. “Don’t sign anything until I get a look at it, because if the documents contain things that may be contentious later, it’s best to iron those issues out before you start work.”
“Let’s say you have your offer in hand and have the usual period of time to think it over. This is the perfect moment to bring it to our office and go over the documents. If you are being offered a VP position, there are many things to consider, such as performance clauses, golden parachute options and non-compete clauses. All of this should be checked with a fine-toothed comb,” Gomez said.
One of the first flags that should go up when anyone is offered a VP position (or higher) is if they are asked to sign anything other than a laundry list that lays out the compensation for the position. Any documents that are handed over, with the expectation that the individual will “just sign them,” need to be vetted by a seasoned Dallas business lawyer. “It’s better to have a legal review prior to signing something that may come back to haunt you later. This is a little like closing the barn door after the horse has left, so don’t sign anything until you know what it is and what it means,” Gomez said.
If a document a new employee receives looks and sounds like an attorney wrote it, chances are they did. “If that’s the case, then it’s best to run this document by your own lawyer. While the document may tell you what is included in your position, it may not indicate what isn’t included, and that’s equally as important,” Gomez said. For example, the papers may not mention dispute resolution or commission payments.
The most critical parts of documents that involve compensation provisions are the ones referring to non-solicitation, non-disclosure and non-compete. “I have spoken to some job candidates that flat out said non-compete agreement are not enforceable. This is not the case. Anything that is a ‘non-clause’ can be enforceable and even if it can’t be enforced, it would be very expensive to fight. These are things we discuss if you happen to have any or all of the big three non-clauses in your offer,” Gomez said.
There are all kinds of questions that need to be answered when dealing with non-compete clauses. For instance, is what that company is asking their prospective employee to give up worth it? Can that individual live with the provisions? What is gained by signing it? What does the person get in return for giving something up? These are things that need to be discussed with a skilled Dallas business lawyer.
Gomez Law Group is a Dallas employment lawyer and Dallas business lawyer. To learn more, visit http://www.gomezlawyers.com.