Restrictive covenants are terms commonly found in employment contracts to protect a business from damaging actions by its employees. The major types of restrictive covenants include non-compete, non-disclosure, and non-solicitation agreements, although contract terms can be tailored to suit a company’s specific needs.
If you are an employer, it is crucial to understand these clauses and know what you are asking of your employees. If you are an employee, it is equally important to know what you are signing onto. Below are some common questions about restrictive covenants in Atlanta. For more information, reach out to the knowledgeable attorneys at Sparks Law today.
Most of the time, employees will sign HR policies and contracts containing restrictive covenants within the first two weeks of their employment. However, it is fairly common to change an employment contract during the course of a person’s employment, especially if the local laws have changed.
For instance, if Georgia changes its laws with regards to how much an employer can restrict solicitation or competition, the employer may need to change its contracts. Employers in Atlanta and throughout the state do not need to offer additional money or incentives when asking employees to sign new contracts. However, other states may require this.
Although it is a good idea to ask for a copy when signing any document, many employees do not ask for this. Typically, the employer is required by law to give them a copy of whatever they have signed, or at least offer one.
Unfortunately, requesting a copy of a non-compete, non-solicitation, or non-disclosure agreement could raise a red flag for the employer, as it may suggest that the employee is considering violating the agreement or leaving the company. However, the HR department is required to show an employee a copy of their contract at any time during their employment.
The employer might refuse to hire a potential employee that refuses to sign their contracts. If the employer does hire them, they may pay less or even treat them differently, as the employer might not want to risk disclosing as much information. Without a restrictive covenant, there is nothing preventing that employee from taking confidential information and disclosing it to competitors or starting their own competing business.
The risks of refusing to sign an employment contract are not so much legal as they are social—it may strain the relationship between the employee and employer. However, it is important to remember that employees are not required to sign anything. If an employee is in doubt about a restrictive covenant, they should have a seasoned attorney at our Atlanta office review the contract before signing.
At Sparks Law, our attorneys are experts in the field of contract law. We have a great deal of experience working through these restrictive covenant cases and representing both employees and employers.
Our job is to locate potential issues with employment contracts and help clients prevent issues down the line. However, we are also prepared to represent business owners and employees in court should their case require litigation. If you have any questions about restrictive covenants in Atlanta, contact our firm today to get answers from a knowledgeable legal professional.