Non-compete contracts or agreements having been gaining a lot of attention recently especially as they are becoming more common with many jobs from restaurant work to corporate board. So what exactly are they? They are a signed agreement between an employee and an employer obligating the employee to a matter of terms and employment agreements. Some of these agreements include confidentiality, non-solicitation and preventing the employee from joining competing businesses. Sounds familiar? The chances that you might have signed such a contract yourself are pretty high.
So what is all the fuss? There are often concerns that non-complete contracts actually take away from an employee’s rights. Make sure you read all the small detail and negotiate if you really feel you have too. While these sorts of contracts often serve the purpose of protecting an employer’s rights, business, and its potential to compete in a given market, there are constraints placed on you as an employee that you might not think too much of in the beginning- that is until you find yourself without a job because you accidentally told a company secret.
Or maybe you learn the tricks and trade of a certain type of business and you decide that you want to leave the company you currently work for and establish a new one your own way. By signing the non-compete agreement, you may have limited your potential in creating your own similar business- that inspiration you though you got from working in the field suddenly becomes just that- inspiration you thought you got. Under this contract, you may have signed an agreement that does not allow you to start your own similar business if you were to leave, nor retain information about what you have learned.
So what to do? When given a contract, question it and think about whether it is in your future interest to sign the document. Ask for a copy- for your records- and read between the lines. Come with questions, and make sure you understand. If your goal is too simply get the job and you have no plans of creating a similar product in the future than no worries sign away. But if you think you may pursue creating your own similar business in the future, come prepared with questions and research because you might limit your opportunities in ways you never thought would occur.
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