It is increasingly common for employers to condition an offer of employment on non-compete and non-solicitation agreements. Often referred to legally as restrictive covenants, non-compete and non-solicitation agreements enforce certain limitations if an employee switches jobs. As restrictive covenants prevent former employees from exercising certain freedoms, the courts impose strict guidelines for non-compete and non-solicitation agreements.
HKM Employment Attorneys LLP in St. Louis have a proven track record of success handling non-compete and non-solicitation agreements. Combining national reach with a personalized approach, HKM Employment Attorneys can serve as your champion in a legal battle against companies of all shapes and sizes. If you need legal help, please do not hesitate to contact us today for assistance.
Nationally Recognized Law Firm Navigates Non-Compete Boundaries
There are opposing interests with any non-compete or non-solicitation agreement. On the one hand, the employer has a legitimate interest in protecting their interests, including trade secrets, customer lists, and other confidential information. On the other hand, employees have the right to certain freedoms, including the ability to change jobs or employers.
In order to balance these opposing interests, the Missouri courts have established strict controls on the validity of non-compete agreements. In evaluating a non-compete agreement, the Missouri courts focus on the following factors.
- Reasonableness: Non-compete agreements must be reasonable in time, scope and geography to be effective. Stated otherwise, non-compete agreements must be as minimally restrictive as possible.
- Legitimate Business Interests: Non-compete agreements are only appropriate when the employer has a legitimate need to protect their business interests. If the employer can protect their interests through other means, the non-compete agreement may not be enforceable.
- Protected Information: Non-compete agreements are rarely effective unless the restriction involves the employer’s trade secrets, client lists or similarly confidential information.
Given the nature of non-compete law in Missouri, where the courts have wide latitude to determine reasonableness or legitimacy, there are few precise rules to follow. In most cases, disputes concerning non-compete and non-solicitation agreements are decided on a case-by-case basis.
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There are many different types of restrictive covenants that may restrict a former employee from performing certain actions. The following list provides an overview of major types of restrictive covenants that might apply after an employee changes jobs.
- Non-Compete: These agreements restrict formers employees from working for direct competitors of their previous employer.
- Non-Solicitation of Clients: These agreements restrict former employees from poaching clients from their previous employer.
- Non-Solicitation of Employees: These agreements restrict former employees from poaching colleagues from their previous employer.
In all of the cases above, the restrictive covenant must be reasonable and minimally invasive. Otherwise, the Missouri courts may declare the agreement unenforceable. If you are unsure about the terms and conditions of a restrictive covenant, it can be helpful to seek legal help from a St. Louis non-compete attorney.
Contact a Missouri Non-Compete Lawyer for Legal Help
If you are struggling to deal with a non-compete or non-solicitation agreement, HKM Employment Attorneys can help you figure out the details and work toward a positive resolution to your case. HKM Employment Attorneys has experience protecting workers from companies of various sizes and across multiple industries. Contact us today to start working toward recovery.