Most of the time, when I tell people that I deal with non-compete agreements, their initial reaction is, “but those are not enforceable in Texas, right?”. Often, that statement is followed by, “but Texas is the right-to-work state, so a company cannot prohibit me from working for whoever I want, right?”. When I try to explain that non-competes in Texas are enforceable and that being a right-to-work to state has nothing to do with a company’s ability to put non-compete restrictions on key employees, I often get incredulous stares. So, for all the skeptical minds out there, here’s a map showing which states enforce non-compete agreements:
You will see from this map (created by Beck Reed Ridden) that only three states in the entire country – California, North Dakota, and Oklahoma – do not enforce non-compete agreements of any sort. The rest of the states, including Texas, enforce such agreement or are undecided on that issue, which means they could enforce them given the right circumstances.
BOTTOM LINE: In Texas, non-compete agreements are enforceable if they meet certain requirements and contain reasonable restrictions on the term, geographic scope and the scope of the restrained activities. Companies should take advantage of this legal tool available to them and make sure that their employment agreements with key employees have properly drafted non-compete clauses that protect their good will, confidential information, and trade secrets.
Leiza litigates non-compete and trade secrets lawsuits in a variety of industries. If you are a party to a dispute involving a noncompete agreement or misappropriation of trade secrets, contact Leiza at Leiza.Dolghih@lewisbrisbois.com or (214) 722-7108.