Are non compete agreements worth signing? That is not an easy question to answer as it usually depends on various factors.
Signing a non compete agreement is not something that should be taken lightly. Many employers try to pass non compete agreements off as a standard practice and when questioned they will usually play down the importance of them.
If you are asked to sign a non compete agreement you should take the necessary time to weigh the potential risks with the potential benefits. Start by reading carefully exactly what is involved in the document that you are asked to sign.
Not all non compete agreements are equal. Some are very reasonable and most people would not have any problems with signing them. Other non compete agreements, however, would definitely not be in your best interest to sign, as they could cause major complications for you in the future.
It is important for you to try and understand the employers point of view. There are obvious reasons that a company would want to opt for non compete agreements. Most companies dedicate a lot of time, energy, and money into training new employees. They obviously would not want to put all of that into an employee just to loose him to the competition. That is not to mention the risk that an employee could learn their “trade secrets” only to turn around and teach them to the competition.
On the other hand there is no shortage of ambitious businesses out there that will design non compete agreements in an unreasonable way. Such agreements may only be in their interests and could really mess up an employee whose circumstances make him decide to leave the company.
Before you decide to sign an agreement you should ask yourself the following questions: Does the agreement just protect trade secrets or is it there more involved? How large is the geographical area that is involved? How long must you wait in order to be able to work in the same sector again?
If you can live with the answers to these questions it would probably be better for you to sign the agreement and start your new job. If the agreement makes you anxious, however, you may want to try speaking with your potential employer.
You may find that he is agreeable to making an amendment in the agreement in order to make it more reasonable. On the other hand he may be suspicious of your concerns and decide not to give you the job.
In conclusion, non compete agreements should not be taken lightly, however, they are not always a negative thing. For example, non compete agreements in Texas may be an advantage for your business if you discuss this with a reputable lawyer.Take the time to understand and weigh all that is involved before you decide whether or not to sign.