A non-solicitation of employees agreement is a type of restrictive covenant that safeguards an employer’s workforce. Essentially, this legal agreement prohibits former employees from poaching their former colleagues.
In the absence of defined laws on the subject, the Pennsylvania courts interpret whether the agreement is valid and enforceable. Above all else, non-solicitation of employees agreements must be reasonable to withstand judicial review.
HKM Employment Attorneys in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has garnered numerous distinctions and awards in the realm of labor and employment law. Among other services, HKM Employment Attorneys LLP helps workers understand employment agreements and negotiate fair contracts. If you have questions about non-solicitation of employees agreements or other facets of employment law, contact us at your earliest convenience.
Reasonableness of Non-Solicitation Agreements
As established by the Pennsylvania courts, protection of a legitimate business interest can justify a non-solicitation of employees agreement. The prohibited conduct under the non-solicitation of employees agreement must be reasonable in nature. The employer is not allowed to restrict employee freedoms with unnecessarily broad or vague terms.
In practice, the Pennsylvania courts have validated non-solicitation agreements with clear limits and boundaries. For example, a valid non-solicitation agreement could last for:
- The entire initial employment term;
- Any at-will employment term that followed the initial employment term; and
- Several years after the employment relationship concludes.
Consideration for Non-Solicitation Agreements
To be valid and enforceable in Pennsylvania, non-solicitation of employees agreements must provide some kind of benefit. Referred to legally as consideration, this benefit can be monetary or non-monetary. The employee must receive separate and valuable consideration for agreeing to a non-solicitation of employees agreement.
At the beginning of an employment relationship, consideration is not hard to identify. The employee receives a salary in exchange for performing work duties and signing relevant contracts. After the employee begins work, continued employment does not constitute separate and valuable consideration in Pennsylvania.
Competitive Impact of Non-Solicitation Agreements
While non-solicitation of employees agreements can be legal in Pennsylvania, the courts have also established a number of guidelines. Specifically, the courts attempt to evaluate the competitive impact of non-solicitation of employees agreements.
- Competition: If the non-solicitation of employees agreement has a distinctly anticompetitive effect, then it may be invalid or unenforceable.
- Impact: If the non-solicitation of employees agreement has a negative impact on affected employees, then it may be invalid or unenforceable.
A competitive impact can swing in the other direction, as well. If a non-solicitation of employees agreement has a low competitive impact, then it may be valid or enforceable in Pennsylvania.
Speak with a Pittsburgh Employment Attorney Today
If your employer asks you to sign a non-solicitation of employees agreement, it is generally prudent to first speak with an adept employment attorney. With vast experience serving workers across the United States, HKM Employment Attorneys can help you make an informed decision. If you need legal help with a non-solicitation of employees agreement, contact us today for an initial consultation.