As uncertainties and unpredictability has continued to hit the job market and employers are becoming more cautious with the kind of agreements they sign with their employees. This is what has given rise to the use of the Non-compete or the Non-disclosure agreements before an employee is offered a contract. These employers know that as the economy continues to become more technology oriented, then they will have to prevent the technical and intellectual property that they have owned from being copied and used elsewhere by others. The only people who can lead to this leakage are the employees once they leave hence the need to protect them.
These agreements have thus become an integral part of the negotiations these days. No one will want a former employee or owner opening the same kind of business across the streets and competing with them;
The difference between the two agreements
The first step in understanding these agreements is by knowing the difference between the two.
- The non-competition agreement means that you have agreed not to offer competition directly to your former employer. This is for a considerable period of time and also within reasonable geographic limits. This means that if you work in a particular company and then after acquiring all the knowledge you can get, you try to establish another business just across the street.
- The nondisclosure agreement is one which means one has agreed not to reveal things which the firm may consider to be confidential to them. Such information includes new products, technology, financial information and business plans among many others. However, this agreement doesn’t mean one cannot work with a competitor. It only limits the person from using this confidential information with their new employer.
To sign the agreement or not to
Those people who are looking for a job have a high chance than those already employed of being asked to sign either the nondisclosure or the non-compete agreements. Whether you go ahead to sign the job depends on how desperate you are to get the job. It if you sign it, then you will be bound by the terms of the agreements even after you leave the company for whatever reason.
Whenever one is asked to sign this kind of agreement, then they should take their time to review it keenly and closely to decide how reasonable it is. For instance, if the court finds that the agreement says you cannot compete against a former employer for a period of up to five years, then court will rule this to be reasonable.
Reasons for leaving
If you want to leave but still remain in the same field, then reasons for your departure will determine. For instance, it you want to find greener pastures, your employer might be unwilling to release you. However, it if your employer who is laying you off, then you might consider talking to them and they will release you for a non-compete. You can also contact a lawyer and discuss your situation.