pen and documents in employment agreement post

Congratulations! You worked hard, aced your interviews and landed that dream job!

You arrive on the first day and your new boss hands you a huge stack of on-boarding documents. You carefully review each document, but you don’t want to appear to be anything less than thrilled with this new opportunity.

It may seem like a formality, but you should be very careful before signing a non-competition, non-solicitation or arbitration agreement. These are important documents that can have a lasting impact on your professional and personal life.

Increasingly, companies are requiring employees to sign these types of agreements as a condition of employment.

1. Non-Competition Agreement (“Non-Compete”)

A non-compete can prevent you from working for a competitor in a defined geographic area after you become separated from your employer. It usually doesn’t matter how you become separated for a non-compete to apply. This means an employee impacted by layoffs or separated through no fault of their own can still be subject to a non-compete. The duration of the non-competition period may vary from a few months to several years. Most people can’t just pick up and move or work outside of their industry after leaving a job. Before you sign a non-compete, have the document reviewed by an experienced Texas employment law attorney.

2. Non-Solicitation Agreement

A non-solicitation agreement will typically prohibit you from encouraging former clients to redirect business to you or your new employer after you become separated. If you work in a sales position or in an industry with a limited number of clients, a non-solicitation agreement can be the functional equivalent of a non-compete. More importantly, a non-solicitation agreement can limit your future job prospects within an industry since many opportunities will be dependent on your connections. Before you sign a non-solicitation agreement book a strategy session to have the document reviewed by an experienced employment law attorney.

3. Arbitration Agreement

An arbitration agreement can limit your ability to pursue claims against your employer in state or federal court. An employee subject to an arbitration agreement would be required to bring any claims against the company in private arbitration. What’s the difference? Well, an arbitration will typically take place in a closed, private setting as opposed to a public courtroom. The arbitrator is usually the sole decision maker as opposed to a jury. Arbitrators tend to be former judges or attorneys with significant experience in a certain industry. Can arbitrators be fair? Sure, but you give up important procedural rights when you agree to arbitrate. Before you sign an arbitration agreement or an employee handbook containing an arbitration agreement, schedule a consultation with an experienced Texas employment law attorney.

Ronald Dupree