Whether they appear in employment agreements or separate short contracts, restrictive clauses are an effective way for business owners to protect what they have built. These terms can help prevent departing employees from hurting their former companies.
As an employer, you can adopt a strategy to stop departing employees from recruiting other employees or clients to go with them to a new company. A Johns Creek non-solicitation agreements lawyer could draft employment contracts that contain restrictive covenants. At Sparks Law, our dedicated attorneys can also advise on creating documents that fit your specific needs.
Restrictive covenants can be included in employment agreements, employee manuals, or separate short contracts. However, employers must be emphatic about what employees can and cannot do after leaving the job. Employment laws in Georgia specify four types of restrictive clauses:
Georgia continues to revise its laws concerning restrictive covenants, so they strike a fair balance between the rights of employers and the needs of employees. A knowledgeable local attorney could advise on what non-solicitation terms and other covenants may be included in an employment agreement.
Employees often have a lot of contact with many business customers. If an employee leaves the business, under Georgia law, they are not permitted to contact those customers and entice them away.
It is important to note that former employees who did not know a customer can accept that customer’s business at a new establishment. For example, if a pest control technician opens a similar business, the technician cannot actively solicit or passively accept business from customers known to the technician. However, clients that the technician had never met can be solicited because the technician would have no way of knowing the client’s relationship with the former employer.
The courts balance this law by placing a two-year restriction on non-solicitation. An experienced lawyer at our Johns Creek office should review a non-solicitation agreement to ensure a former employee has no grounds for a court challenge.
Georgia case law concerning solicitation of employees changed most recently in a 2017 appeals court ruling. Before the reversal, a departing employee won the ruling, permitting solicitation of employees because the restrictive covenant did not specify a geographic area and did not limit non-solicitation to just the employees the departing employee knew.
However, in CMGRP, Inc. v. Gallant, No. A17A1168 (Ga. Ct. App. Oct. 4, 2017), the appeals court reversed the ruling, stating that departing employees cannot solicit any employees, whether they know them or not. Additionally, the court ruled that an employer does not need to specify a geographic limitation to enforce the non-solicitation clause. This means that a departing employee cannot lure any employees from any company branches to work for someone else.
Because these laws are always evolving, it is critical to consult a Johns Creek attorney for the most up-to-date information on non-solicitation agreements. A lawyer at our firm could help draft clauses or contracts for those interested in protecting their clients and employees.
As an employer, you hope that departing employees will leave on good terms. However, it is important to safeguard your company against vengeful former workers who may try to steal your customers or employees.
One way to protect your business is through restrictive covenants. Consult a Johns Creek non-solicitation agreements lawyer to learn more about the benefits of these documents. Call Sparks Law today to set up a consultation and get the legal help you deserve.