Experienced lawyers offer trustworthy advice and litigation services to protect your rights
Employment contracts are designed to be mutually beneficial, creating a relationship that each party invests in. Expectations, incentives, rewards and other elements bind the parties together. However, since any relationship could turn sour, prudent parties have to consider their rights and obligations in the event of a split. For this reason, many companies insist on including a noncompete clause in employment contracts for select employees at certain levels, but noncompete agreements can sometimes raise more controversies than they solve. At DeLong, Caldwell, Bridgers, Fitzpatrick, & Benjamin, LLC in Atlanta, our employment attorneys negotiate noncompete agreements on behalf of businesses and employees. Our goal is always to protect our client’s rights so a separation can occur smoothly without an inordinate disruption to either side.
“I first utilized Mr. Mitchell Benjamins’ legal advice in 2016 to help negotiate the terms of my non-compete for my new job offer/contract. He was extremely helpful, he not only educated me and empowered me to negotiate a more amenable non-compete, but he also pointed out some other areas of my contract that could be negotiated for an overall better contract. Additionally, when I was later laid off, I was presented with a less than favorable severance package. He was able to secure me a significantly higher severance package. Because of these results, I have utilized his services three other times.” – H.H.
Knowledgeable counselors detail the benefits of including a noncompete in an employment contract
Employers are concerned with their long-term security. It does an organization little good to hire someone, provide specialized knowledge of the industry, and let that employee go to work for a competitor or start their own competing firm. The law allows employers to include noncompete agreements in employment contracts to protect a legitimate business interest. These interests include protecting trade secrets and proprietary information. Therefore, it’s customary to include a noncompete for any worker who has access to the company’s trade secrets, business processes, lists of clients and suppliers, and other inside information.
Dedicated lawyers advise on making a noncompete legally binding
Businesses who tailor noncompetes to cover legitimate business interests must still make sure their terms are reasonable in terms of:
- Scope — The work tasks that would constitute competition with the former employer must be specific and related to the company’s legitimate interests.
- Duration — Noncompetes lasting more than two years are generally considered unreasonable.
- Applicable geographic area — Global restrictions are generally unreasonable. The more limited the area, the more likely a court would find the restriction to be reasonable.
Overly broad noncompetes that prevent a person from earning a living may not hold up in court. Companies must also offer consideration for having a worker sign the agreement. For a new hire, the offer of employment is adequate consideration. But when a worker has been with the company for a time before being asked to sign a noncompete, an offer of continued employment is not enough. Additional consideration, such as a promotion or a raise, is generally necessary to bind the worker. Our firm provides a full range of contract services for businesses, including drafting, reviewing, negotiating and litigating noncompete clauses.
Reliable attorneys provide guidance for employees before signing a noncompete
For many employees, the offer of a position can be exciting. You might be tempted to accept whatever the company offers. But leaping to sign an employment contract could lead to regret, especially if you are saddled with overly restrictive covenants. Georgia’s Restrictive Covenants Act allows for certain post-employment restrictions for employees who:
- Solicit customers or prospective customers “customarily and regularly”
- Engage in sales of products or services
- Are executive employees
- Are key employees or professionals
Before signing any employment contract, you should seek reliable advice from a knowledgeable employment lawyer. Our attorneys perform thorough contract reviews so you are fully informed about the terms of the agreement and precisely what they could mean for your future.
Litigating noncompete agreements in Georgia
Our law firm manages a wide range of employment contract disputes for companies and employees. If a controversy arises with your noncompete, we are ready to assert your rights.
Contact a Georgia law firm experienced in noncompete agreements
DeLong, Caldwell, Bridgers, Fitzpatrick, & Benjamin, LLC in Atlanta provides cogent advice and counsel to Georgia employers and employees regarding noncompete agreements. Call us at 470-443-0524 or contact us online to arrange a consultation. Our Atlanta office is ADA accessible.