Non-Compete & Non-Disclosure Agreements
In tight employment markets, many people are happy enough to be hired that they will sign anything put in front of them. And, while employers certainly have a right to ask employees – new and established – to sign non-compete agreements (also called confidentiality agreements), they are not always enforceable in New Jersey courts. Specifically, if your employer’s main focus is to block competition, then it will be extremely difficult to get an NJ judge to uphold the agreement.
On the other hand, New Jersey courts have long been known to enforce reasonable non-compete agreements. Generally, signing a reasonable non-compete shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you are an employee who feels they have been forced to sign an unfair non-compete agreement and is having difficulty getting another job or has been sued by your former employer after getting another job, we can help. Call Graziano & Flynn today for a consultation about your case.What is a Non-Compete or Non-Disclosure Agreement?
Many employers put a considerable amount of time and money into training their employees. When those very same employees leave the company and take their knowledge, experience elsewhere, it can be extremely frustrating to the original company. What’s worse, however, is when those employees take trade knowledge, and even secrets, with them to their new positions.
Employers can protect themselves against that type of behavior by requiring employees to sign non-compete agreements. By signing this type of paperwork, an employee agrees not to work for a direct competitor or to share confidential information for a period of time after he or she leaves the company. The key is making sure that the agreement will pass muster with a New Jersey judge.What’s a Trade Secret?
A trade secret is information that is not generally known by people outside of your company that would give others a marked advantage. Often it’s something protected by patent or copyright, but it can be a program, device, method, technique or other process that your company has gone to lengths to keep secret. If that information were to be disclosed and would give competitors a marked new advantage, that would hurt financials and be a serious problem for the company. Having a non-compete agreement preventing employees from sharing such information would benefit a company greatly in this scenario. A non-compete agreement, when drafted properly, will even protect the company if a former employee unwittingly or unknowingly shares trade secrets.Does Your Non-Compete Agreement Meet These Guidelines?
If you have any questions about the document you are being asked to sign or have already signed, contact Graziano & Flynn today. To be enforced in a NJ court, a non-compete agreement must take the following into consideration:
It needs to make good business sense: An employee shouldn’t be made to sign a non-compete agreement just to keep them employed. A judge won’t go for that. It must be in place because that employee has knowledge, or will have knowledge, of information that, if shared, will hurt the company.
It needs to be reasonable in wording and intent: The non-compete agreement can’t be forever or even for an unreasonable amount of time. It can’t cover such a wide geographic area that it would prevent the employee from getting a job in their chosen field within an acceptable commute from their home. It has to have reasonable limits in scope; you can’t prohibit the employee from discussing their knowledge on a wide variety of topics in a way that would limit their value to the new employer.Graziano & Flynn Represents Employees Being Sued Over Disclosure Issues
You got a new job and signed a non-compete agreement or you signed the agreement at some point during your employ — without even thinking twice? When you leave the job, you may find yourself facing a lawsuit about that very document. Don’t go it alone in court. Call us to discuss your case. We will represent you non-compete legislation and work diligently to convince the court that your non-compete agreement was unfair and that there should be no restrictions at all or that the restrictions should be significantly limited.
If you are a doctor or lawyer or other similar professional, you should know that the court’s often view the public’s right-to-know more favorably than the professional’s promise not to disclose. Therefore, it’s important to be represented by knowledgeable, experienced lawsuits as soon as possible.
Graziano & Flynn represents clients throughout South Jersey including residents of Camden, Gloucester and Burlington counties. Our offices are conveniently located in Cherry Hill. Call us today to discuss your case or fill out our online contact form.