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Should You Sign a Non-Compete Agreement?

It is common for employers to ask employees to sign a non-compete agreement prior to accepting a position. Essentially, the purpose of a non-compete agreement is to prevent an employee from revealing a company’s ideas, sales leads and other confidential information to competitors over a certain period of time and/or within a certain geographical location.

The idea is that by the time the non-compete agreement expires, the protected information will no longer be relevant to the competitive landscape or industry. In addition, non-compete agreements prevent employers from blatantly “stealing” each other’s employees.

Thus, the question becomes, should you sign a non-compete agreement? If you applied for a position and the employer has requested that you sign a non-compete, you should consult with a lawyer prior to signing. He or she can explain to you that you should ask the following questions about a non-compete before you sign it:

  • How long does the agreement restrict you? Is the time period unreasonable?
  • Does the agreement cover a broad geographical area? Or does it focus on a specific location?
  • How specific is the non-compete agreement? Does it say you can’t work in a certain industry at all?
  • What are the consequences you face if you break the agreement?
  • Are you exempt from the agreement if you are fired?

Non-compete agreements seek to primarily protect employers, not employees. Depending on the type of agreement your employer offers you, you may find yourself unable to work in your particular field for a certain period of time.

Neil  H.  Deutsch Attorney Photo
Neil H. Deutsch
Retired

Neil H. Deutsch has been practicing law for over 35 years and is known as a skilled negotiator in employment and discrimination law. He believes in a bottom-line approach of risk analysis and cost effectiveness for his clients. "Case evaluation is something we take seriously," says Mr. Deutsch who seeks top net dollar for his…

Bruce  L.  Atkins Attorney Photo
Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

Bruce L. Atkins is the senior managing partner at Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt P.C., a prominent plaintiff employment law firm in the tri-state area. Mr. Atkins believes employees’ rights should be aggressively pursued when they’ve been wrongfully dealt with by their employers. He brings this philosophy to his practice when considering each case and its…

Adam  J.  Kleinfeldt Attorney Photo
Adam J. Kleinfeldt
Partner

Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigation such as discrimination, retaliation and whistle blowing matters. He has extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. Adam has obtained significant results for his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict in a sexual…

Diane  Englander  Peyser Attorney Photo
Diane Englander Peyser
Attorney

Diane Englander Peyser joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in September 2018 where she represents employees in wrongful termination, retaliation, harassment, and discrimination matters. Prior to joining Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C., Diane represented clients in all aspects of employment law on behalf of employees involving unemployment appeals, claims of sexual harassment, LGBT discrimination, disability…

Debra M. McGarvey Attorney Photo
Debra M. McGarvey
Attorney

Debra M. McGarvey joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in December 2019. She has extensive experience defending employees and employers in state and federal court in employment litigation matters. She has represented clients on various issues arising out of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), the…

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