If you fulfill an important role at a company, the business will potentially try to limit what you do after you leave the company. Companies view such limitations as a way to protect their intellectual property and avoid unfair competition.
Negotiating restrictive covenants like noncompete agreements is often part of the hiring process for educated and skilled professionals. Whether you are a structural technician or someone with executive management experience, your employer may demand that you sign an agreement to not start a competing company or go to work for a competitor after leaving your position with them.
When can you potentially ask the courts to throw out that agreement and allow you to pursue a new opportunity?
When your employer did not limit the agreements appropriately
A noncompete agreement could create extreme financial hardship for a worker. Being unable to use their skills or education to earn an income can leave someone unable to support themselves. Typically, the courts want to see noncompete agreements with specific time and geographic limitations. An overly broad non-compete agreement may not hold up under judicial scrutiny.
When you did not receive something of value for signing
Your employer receives protection when you sign a noncompete agreement, and you should receive something for making future economic concessions. Often, what you receive is an offer of employment or promotion. However, if the company had you sign the document when you were already an employee or without offering something of value in exchange, the court may not enforce it.
Learning more about the requirements for valid noncompete agreements can help you fight back against one limiting your future.