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Thread: Signing Confidentiality, Non-Solicitation, Non-Competition, & Inventions Agreements

  1. #11
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    I've signed them before as a sales rep before but never had any problems...One employer let me go for no reason after taking the company from a 500k biz to 6mm over 5 years, but agreed to pay me commissions I brought in for a year if I wouldn't go to work for the competition. After the one year I did just that & they closed shop not too long after simply due to stupidity & not understanding the importance of sales / relationships.

    This was all in manufacturing in Mexico in the maquilas several years ago & when the issues over there got ugly to uglier, I decided to leave & change my direction to keep me out of the country...one of my superiors who was a complete idiot threatened to take me to court over a rumor I jumped ship to the competition & the agreement I signed. I played the game, told him I was going take all the biz with me & I had the 'right to work' bs being in TX on my side & he came unglued. Our main boss who I stayed very good friends with let him work himself up for months which made for some great long distant phone conversations & laughs.

    Anyway, depending on your industry I think it would be wise to do just what you are considering & look at the options with trusted attny who understands your situation & mostly has experience with the issue. Good luck.
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  2. #12
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    Main thing to look into is how long you can't work for a competitor after you leave the company. We hired a guy and had to put him in another position for a year until his noncompete clause ended.

  3. #13
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    Non-compete clauses are very common in the Architectural and Engineering (A&E) world mainly for senior level positions and/or an individuals bringing a unique or highly sought after network or skill set to the table.

    I signed two non-competes when I was in the A&E consulting world and both were a year if I left on my own accord.

    I didn’t want to sign them but really had no choice if I wanted to follow my career path. It all worked out in the end for me but they are getting more common in this highly competitive work environment where finding and keeping good talent is challenging.


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  4. #14
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    Lawyer here. Of course, as you know, I am not YOUR lawyer. Enforceability varies a lot by state, your type of job, and the terms of the noncompete. Personally I think they are legitimate for (1) sale of a business, where the selling owner agrees not to compete, and (2) those rare situations where a business invest heavily in a person's training and wants to make sure they don't just finance their competitor. Other than that I think poorly of them, and you've seen some horror stories above.

    If you do decide to sign - like if you have no real choice in your industry - make sure that the terms don't prevent from working any skilled field during the post-termination non-competition period. It's one thing if you can't do hyperspecialty X in metro area A, but another if you can't do, say, any computer programming in north America. (The latter probably wouldn't be enforceable, but you might have to spend $10k or more on attorney fees to get that decided in court.)
    Last edited by SomeOtherGuy; 08-25-19 at 22:21.
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  5. #15
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    Its not that unusual. I’m under one now as a consultant for a dod contracting organization. Mine’s easy to live with. I can work anywhere I want, doing whatever, when I’m not on the clock with them, as long as its not for a direct competitor.

    Read the fine print.
    RLTW

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  6. #16
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    Non-competes are routine in Medicine. Usually 30-50 mile geographic exclusion for 2 years around here. They appears to be pretty enforceable in this state. The 12-surgeon group that I own/work for has such a non-compete, and we contract with a hospital for exclusive surgical services (so...two non-competes...one for the group and one for the hospital). Conversely however, the hospital has a non-compete with us...we have right of first refusal for any other surgeon that the hospital wants to hire...the hospital can only hire them if we don't want them. Just had that happen with a podiatrist. We elected to keep our professional corporation all physicians, and hospital hired him.

  7. #17
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    Thanks a lot for the comments guys. Very helpful as I think through this.

  8. #18
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    Have you ever looked at something at work and said " I know I can do that better?" now imagine taking the time to cobble all of that up better and getting nothing for it.
    The next time you see it the .gov.mil owns it and you kind of wonder wtf?

  9. #19
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    In my experience they aren't enforceable except in very limited/narrow cases like HMac outlined above. I used an attorney to address the one I had with a previous contract and as it was stated to me by the attorney. It's like hiring a plumber and telling him he can't fix any of your neighbor's toilets after he fixes yours. There isn't a judge out there who is going to tell you that you can't work in your career field. Most companies use them as a threat and threaten to enforce it in court thinking you won't push back.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Robison View Post
    It's like hiring a plumber and telling him he can't fix any of your neighbor's toilets after he fixes yours.
    Well I think that it depends on who is bringing what to the table. If you're an expert in your field already, and the company is hiring you for your knowledge/skills, a non-compete doesn't sound like a lot of sense. Confidentiality would, though, depending on the kind of work. Anything developed using company resources on company time usually belongs to the company.

    But, if they're the ones with the expertise and they're going to invest a lot in you, then I can see the company's point of view.

    It's like a plumbing company hiring a trainee who's relatively new to the field, teaching him all the skills of the trade, and then he leaves after a while with all his new-found knowledge to start his own plumbing business. If I were the plumbing company, I'd want some sort of contract to say that were he to start his own business, it wouldn't be in an area where he competes directly with me. I wouldn't expect him to not work in the same field; just not in my area of coverage.

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