While the enforcement of non-compete agreements around the country remains strong, the courts are looking closer at whether an employee will suffer “undue hardship” if his or her non-compete is enforced. Thus, employers should avoid taking unreasonable positions in court and be prepared to explain why enforcing a particular non-competition agreement will not prevent an employee from earning a living.
In Texas, a 5 to 10 year non-compete agreement related to a sale of business is the norm. n addition to the non-compete restrictions in the sale documents, those sellers who stay employed by the buyer after the sale often sign a second non-compete agreement as part of their employment package, which does not kick in until after their employment with the buyer terminates.
Many companies have been taking advantage of the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic to poach employee talent that they otherwise would not have been able to recruit or afford. Companies that have experienced layoffs, furloughs, salary reductions or bonus freezes, are particularly vulnerable to raiding attempts by their competitors.
Since the White House issued a call to action to state legislators asking them to reign in the use of non-compete agreements in 2016, 16 states proceeded to amend their non-compete statutes to add additional protections for employees
In Texas, the reason for termination of employment – whether it was for cause, without cause, a layoff, a reduction in force, or any other reason – does not affect the enforceability of a non-compete agreement. Therefore, employers should not assume that non-competition agreements are no longer enforceable and must carefully approach enforcement of such agreements against departing employees as well as the hiring of new employees who may be still bound by non-competition agreements with their former employers.
Rocketlawyer.com has recently been advertising “free non-compete agreements” online. In fact, it is the very first advertisement that pops-up when you google “non-compete agreements.” So,