Non-Compete and Non-Solicit Agreements
Steffans Legal Represents Employees In Non-compete And Non-solicit Disputes In Pittsfield, North Adams, Springfield, Worcester, Lowell, Fall River, New Bedford, And Cape Cod
Employers ask their employees to sign a number of documents as part of the employment process, including documents that contain prohibitions on who the employee can work for and with when their employment ends. These documents are commonly referred to as non-compete agreements. In reality, they usually include provisions that do more than just prevent you from working for your employer’s competitor, including preventing you from working with your employer’s customers (non-solicitation) and inducing your co-workers to leave when you leave.
At Steffans Legal in Massachusetts, we’ve handled a variety of disputes centered on non-compete and non-solicit agreements. These types of representations typically fall into one of the following categories.
Situation 1: Employees use our services before they sign a non-compete or non-solicit agreement to secure important changes to those documents or to better understand the restrictions they contain. We get it. You are starting a new job. You are excited and reluctant to try to negotiate changes to your employment agreement, especially to provisions that make it look like you may leave that job at some point. But, in our experience, employers are usually willing to agree to certain modifications to those agreements and don’t take it personally when you ask. Remember, you can’t get what you don’t ask for.
Situation 2: You want to quit or suspect you are about to be terminated. As a result, you are looking for new work. What jobs can you take given that you signed a non-compete? What customers can you solicit given that you signed a non-solicit? Many Massachusetts employees come to us at this point to better understand how the agreement they’ve signed impacts the job they want to take. We help provide the clarity these employees need to know that they can take that new job, or help them understand the risk they face if they do.
Situation 3: You just received a letter from your former employer demanding you cease working for your new employer, claiming that you are in violation of your non-compete or non-solicit agreement. We’ve responded to a countless number of these letters and understand how to spot the weaknesses in your former employer’s position and how, if possible, to use those weaknesses to negotiate a favorable exit from that agreement. Or maybe your former employer skipped the letter and sued you and your current employer for violating the agreement. These lawsuits usually include your former employer seeking a temporary restraining order to stop you from working for your new employer. This is hard relief to receive, but not impossible.
Regardless of whether you are responding to a cease-and-desist letter or a request for a TRO, there are many potential defenses to the enforceability of a non-compete or non-solicit agreement, including that the agreement lacked consideration, that your job materially changed after you entered into the agreement, or that the agreement unfairly restricts your right to earn a living.
Steffans Legal has counseled numerous Massachusetts employers and employees through this process. We’ve drafted countless non-compete and non-solicit agreements. Whether you have signed an agreement and want out, are being asked to sign an agreement and want to negotiate, or want an agreement written, we can help. Contact Steffans Legal with any questions surrounding your non-compete or non-solicit agreement.