Your employees may have access to trade secrets or proprietary information that is vital to the success of your business. You may worry that employees who eventually leave your company may take that information with them and share it with a competitor in your field if they take a similar job with another company. A non-compete agreement stipulates that employees who leave your company may not go work with competitors within a certain time frame. It also offers you remedies if a former employee breaches this agreement by taking a job with a competitor before the allotted time frame has expired.
Legal relief is one possible remedy for a breach of a non-compete agreement. If you sustain economic damages as a result, you can file a lawsuit against the former employee claiming damages from him or her relating to the breach of contract.
Non-compete agreements are controversial. In many cases, the court does not uphold them, ruling them to be unenforceable. Therefore, it is rare to collect damages from a former employee in a lawsuit over a breach of a non-compete agreement.
Equitable relief doesn’t involve collecting monetary damages from a former employee over a breach of a non-compete agreement. Rather, it involves petitioning a court to intervene to stop the behavior that is not in compliance. If the court decides that the agreement is enforceable, it can issue a court order against the noncompliant individual instructing him or her to stop the activity.
An example of such an order is an injunction; therefore, this remedy is sometimes also referred to as injunctive relief. In the case of a non-compete agreement, the court might issue an injunction against your former employee ordering him or her to comply with the terms of the agreement that he or she signed and stop working for your competitor.
As a result, your former employee will have to give up his or her new job and avoid taking any similar jobs until the terms of the non-compete agreement expire. It is much more common for employers to receive equitable relief for a breach of a non-compete agreement than legal relief. An injunction stops the behavior on the former employee’s part that you wanted to avoid anyway.
Remedies are only available if the non-compete agreement is enforceable. An experienced attorney, such as an asset protection lawyer from Bott & Associates, LTD., can help you create an agreement that holds up in court and provides remedies in the event of a breach.