Every time you accept a new job, you have to negotiate an employment contract. Many professionals simply sign the documents that their new employers provide without changing or challenging anything. It is only later, when they start thinking about moving on, that they worry about the documents they signed as a new hire.
Restrictive covenants that limit an employee’s future actions are common in modern employment contracts, especially for highly-paid professionals with access to corporate resources, like client rosters. Many companies mandate that workers sign non-compete agreements that prevent them from starting a business in the same field or going to work for a direct competitor.
Others may require a non-solicitation agreement, possibly in addition to a non-compete agreement. What does a non-solicitation agreement mean for an employee?
It limits how someone leverages business connections
The relationships that you develop while working at a company can be a valuable resource as you move on in your career. Non-solicitation agreements prevent you from reaching out to professionals or businesses you connected with through your employment.
Frequently, non-solicitation agreements prevent someone from contacting customers or clients that they worked with while employed at the company that had them sign the agreement. Although they may know dozens of businesses that want the services or goods their new employer provides, they cannot solicit those contacts for work or sales.
Non-solicitation agreements can also prevent a worker from poaching their former teammates. Sending a former deskmate a private message on LinkedIn talking about how much better the pay and benefits are at your new company may seem harmless. However, it could potentially violate a non-solicitation agreement that you signed when you took your job.
Reviewing the agreements before leaving can help you remain in compliance
Like other restrictive covenants, non-solicitation agreements are often subject to limitations about what area they apply to or how long an employer can enforce them. When you know those terms and what specific actions you cannot take after leaving a company, you will have an easier time moving on with your career without facing an expensive lawsuit from your former employer.
Reviewing crucial employment law rules that affect employee mobility can help those planning a big career move.