September 18, 2023
You’ve been offered an incredible opportunity at a new company that aligns perfectly with your career aspirations. The offer letter is virtually in your hand, but there’s a catch. You’ve signed a Non-Compete Agreement (NCA) with your current employer. How do you navigate this delicate terrain without risking legal ramifications?
The dilemma isn’t just theoretical; it’s a situation many professionals face. In this blog, we will delve into how to approach changing jobs when you are bound by a non-compete clause.
The Nitty-Gritty of a Non-Compete Agreement
A Non-Compete Agreement is a contractual obligation between an employer and employee that restricts the latter from entering into competition with the former. The agreement may stipulate specific time frames, geographic locations, and the nature of work that would be considered “competitive.”
If you’re considering changing jobs, it’s important to be upfront with your current employer about your non-compete agreement. You should also discuss the agreement with your new employer before accepting a job offer.
Here are some things you should say when discussing your non-compete agreement:
- You understand that you are bound by a non-compete agreement.
- You are willing to abide by the terms of the agreement.
- You are not aware of any confidential information that you would be taking with you to your new job.
- You are willing to sign a waiver of the non-compete agreement, if possible.
It’s important to be honest and cooperative when discussing your non-compete agreement. If you try to hide the agreement or violate its terms, your current employer could take legal action against you.
The Legality of Non-Competes
While non-compete agreements are enforceable in most states, the scope and constraints may vary. For example, in Texas, a non-compete must be reasonable in its geographical limitation and duration to be enforceable (“Enforceability of Covenants Not to Compete”, Texas Business and Commerce Code). It’s crucial to consult with attorneys in McAllen from Villeda Law Grou, who have an in-depth understanding of local laws and can provide tailored advice.
When to Raise the Issue
During Exit Interviews. Exit interviews are not just a formality; they are the perfect setting to discuss your non-compete agreement. This is the time to clarify the boundaries and conditions, and perhaps even negotiate the terms. However, be prepared for all scenarios, including the company holding you to the original terms.
Prior to Accepting the New Offer. Consult a lawyer in McAllen Texas from Villeda Law Group before accepting the new job offer. They can provide you insights on how to best navigate the non-compete while switching jobs, without attracting legal issues.
What to Say
To Your Current Employer. Honesty is usually the best policy, but discretion is equally important. Discuss your new job offer in a manner that doesn’t violate the agreement, ensuring you’re not giving away any proprietary information.
To Your Prospective Employer. Transparency is crucial. Make your new employer aware of your existing non-compete agreement. It demonstrates integrity and allows the company to assess the risks involved.
Getting Out of a Non-Compete Agreement
In some cases, you may be able to get out of a non-compete agreement. Here are some things you can do:
Negotiate with your current employer. You may be able to get your employer to agree to modify or waive the non-compete agreement.
Challenge the agreement in court. If you believe that the non-compete agreement is unreasonable, you may be able to challenge it in court. However, this can be a costly and time-consuming process.
Wait for the agreement to expire. If you can’t get out of the non-compete agreement, you’ll need to wait for it to expire before you can work for a competitor.
How We Can Help
Navigating job changes with a non-compete agreement is a sensitive issue that requires careful planning and professional guidance. Changing jobs doesn’t have to be a legal landmine if managed skillfully. The right attorney can help you chart a course that respects both the law and your career ambitions.
If you find yourself facing this dilemma, don’t navigate these complicated waters alone. The Villeda Law Group, one of the trusted business attorneys in McAllen, TX, can help you understand your options and rights in this situation. With us, you’ll get legal counsel that’s tailored to your needs.
Don’t leave your career to chance. Contact Villeda Law Group today to ensure that your next career move is both legally sound and strategically smart.