Are Non-Competes Enforceable for Employees Fired for Refusing Covid-19 Vaccine?

Texas employees who refuse COVID-19 vaccine may be terminated. If they have a non-compete agreement with their employer, assuming the agreement meets the appropriate legal requirements, i.e., among other things, is reasonable, has geographic, scope, and term restrictions, and is supported by consideration, the fact that the employee was terminated or quit over the COVID-19 vaccine requirement, is not going to make the agreement invalid.

How to avoid a non-compete lawsuit?

Many employees assume that if they were let go their non-compete agreement automatically becomes null and void. This is not true, however, in a lot of states, and this assumption can turn out to be very costly for an employee. It is much better to plan ahead and make sure that the departure from the former employer is as smooth as possible, and to avoid doing some of the things described above that often trigger a non-compete lawsuit.

When Do Employers Enforce Non-Compete Agreements?

Many companies in Texas have non-competition agreements with their employees, but not all companies enforce them.  Some companies will sue the departing employees for violating non-compete agreements, even thought such agreement may not be valid under Texas laws.  Others, will not bother with enforcement even though they have valid agreements on hand.  The reality is that the validity of a non-compete agreement is only one factor in a company’s decision whether to enforce it.

COVID-19 Texas Employer Guide – Are Non-Compete Agreements Still Enforceable?

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. 

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