One of the main issues that I hear from some of my clients is the concern that an employee will run away with their clients and become competition. A recent article in the Washington Business Journal addressed this concerned, stating that the critical assets for success are the key people, their confidential information and their goodwill. Losing any of these and your bottom line will be affected.
One way to prevent this is by addressing these issues in a “well crafted employment agreement”. It can prevent employees from unfairly competing or from misappropriating confidential information upon their departure. Employee agreements can include restrictions on taking or using confidential information or “trade secrets”. This can include anything from price lists to marketing strategies.
Non compete agreements generally prohibit or limit employees from engaging in unfair competitive practices, such as soliciting customers or using sensitive information gained from their previous employment. Restrictions on contacting customers who are current customers of the business or who were customers during a recent time frame are generally also included.
Remember for an employment agreement to be most effective, it must be tailed to the specific needs of the particular business. For example, non-compete clauses must be clear and unambiguous and should specifically state what types of conduct are prohibited. They should include a specific geographic scope and duration.
Taken from the Washington Business Journal – Edward Sharkey