Put simply, a non-compete agreement is a contract that restricts employees’ ability to compete in business against or with the employer. For example, say an employee leaves or is fired from a manufacturing business that makes hair ties. With a non-compete agreement, their former employer could prevent them from giving a list of their vendors or distributors to competitors.
However, different states have different rules on what can and cannot be included in a non-compete agreement. If a non-compete agreement is too broad, it can prevent an employee from finding a job in their field and doing what they are good at. These scenarios may lead to legal disputes over the terms of the contract.
Business owners with employees should consult a knowledgeable attorney at Sparks Law for help drafting contracts that are legally enforceable. On the other hand, our lawyers also represent employees involved in non-compete agreement disputes in Georgia. Regardless of your situation, a skilled member of our team can help you better understand these contracts and protect your business interests.
Essentially, non-compete agreements are restraints on trade. Some employees will get very good at what they do, and then leave a company because they feel they are not getting paid enough. Or they may get fired. Either way, their only option to make the same kind of living might be to work for a competitor.
Accordingly, a broad non-compete agreement could create a lot of problems for an employee who wants to make money for their family and continue to do what they are good at. However, the employer has a vested interest in preventing the employee from doing this, as it is harmful for the employer’s company. As such, disputes over non-compete agreements are quite common in Georgia.
Often, non-compete agreements will start off with a demand letter from an attorney representing one side or the other. This is basically a request to settle the non-compete or waive rights to it. Regardless of who begins the dispute, both sides will need representation from a lawyer.
An employee dealing with a non-compete dispute should hire a local attorney that specializes in employment law. Their legal counsel could review the employment contract, non-compete agreement, and any other restrictive covenants. At Sparks Law, one of our skilled attorneys can review a potential new employer and determine what may or may not be considered competition with an employee’s former company. From here, we can advise on how to proceed and devise a strategy for negotiating or contesting the non-competition dispute.
If an employer catches wind of an ex-employee working for a competitor and violating their non-compete agreement, they should also contact a nearby attorney at our firm. The lawyers at Sparks Law can review the employment contract and the former employee’s actions to determine if any breaches occurred. If so, we can help file an immediate lawsuit against the employee to stop them from revealing trade secrets to a competitor.
When settling non-compete disputes, it is common for employers to get paid through buyout costs. Essentially, a competitor employer might decide to pay their employee’s prior company so that they can buy them out of their non-compete agreement. The attorneys at our Georgia office can further explain this potential outcome and help facilitate negotiations in a non-compete dispute.
If you are an employer or employee caught in litigation over a non-compete agreement, you need a seasoned lawyer to represent your interests. The attorneys at Sparks Law have experience representing numerous clients in non-compete agreement disputes in Georgia. Give us a call today to discuss your circumstances and learn how we can advocate for you.