Restrictive Covenants in Employment Agreements: Guarding the Family Jewels, Part I
Happy end-of-2012 to all from The Emplawyerologist! Now that we know from the last three posts about confidential information and trade secrets, ( Click here, here and here for a review) what other mechanisms are available to employers who wish to safeguard their secrets? Employers who are serious about ensuring that employees do not run off with information that affords them a competitive edge need to include restrictive covenants (also known as "non-competes") in their employment agreements. What is a restrictive covenant? In short, it is an agreement by an employee not to engage in, work for or invest in a business that competes with his or her present or former employer. Does that mean that once your employee stops working for you that s/he can never work for any company that competes with yours? No. There are, of course, limits on how much an employer can restrict present and former employees, which we will address soon. As always though, we need to cover some basics.
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