A non-solicitation clause may be found in your employment contract, especially if your employer is in the service or sales industry, where the relationship it has with clients is directly tied to profit. While violating a non-solicitation clause may be cause for serious alarm, there is a good chance that your employer overstepped its grounds of an enforceable employment contract. Whether you are unsure of whether to sign such an agreement, or your employer or former employer has taken adverse action against you for allegedly violating a non-solicitation clause, you need to get in touch with an experienced Kansas employment attorney today.
Typical Criteria Found in Non-Solicitation Clauses
Solicitation of a company’s clients is generally part of many non-compete clauses, and they are actually often written in the same paragraph, according to the American Bar Association. These clauses are enforceable in Kansas as long as they meet certain criteria discussed later. A non-solicitation of clients clause prohibits a former employee of a company to bring over clients from a former employer to a current employer. Typically, clauses will contain at least the following requirements of an employee:
- That the employee will not divulge names of individual clients to an outside company;
- That the employee does not solicit or contact clients without permission of the employer; and
- That the employee must not hamper with the employer-client relationship, such as talk about the financial affairs of the company or encourage the client or business associate to discontinue working with the company.
Within the employment contract, included will typically be the penalties for violating any of these or other non-solicitation terms. An employer may terminate, demote, or seek legal penalties against an employee or former employee that it believes to have violated a specific non-solicitation clause. However, not all non-solicitation or non-compete employment clauses are valid in the state of Kansas.
Is the Non-Solicitation Clause Valid?
When determining whether or not a non-solicitation clause is enforceable, two aspects need to be considered. First, is the non-solicitation clause reasonable? For instance, does it put irrational constrictions on the employee? Secondly, does the non-solicitation clause work to protect the employer’s legitimate business interests? If either of these two criteria is not met, the clause is not enforceable. Moreover, if an employee blatantly attempts to steal his or her employer’s clients, the employee may have violated the Kansas Uniform Trade Secrets Act. Even if the employee did not sign a non-solicitation agreement, he or she could be found guilty of violating this law. However, cases such as these are rare and if you have been accused of doing so, you must contact a lawyer at once.
Call the Experienced Kansas City HKM Non-Solicitation of Clients Attorneys Today
If your employer has accused you of violating the terms of your non-solicitation agreement, you have the right to defend yourself by contacting an attorney. Similarly, if you have any questions about a contract that you are about to sign, call the Kansas City HKM Employment Attorneys today.