Should I sign a non-compete agreement with my employer?

Non-compete agreements are more common than ever for companies here in Wisconsin and all across the U.S. As such, you could find yourself presented with this type of contract in your job. 

Before you decide whether to sign it or not, you should be able to answer some critical questions.

  1. Is the agreement necessary? A non-compete agreement is not something every employee needs. Unless a person has or may have access to proprietary information or trade secrets, a non-compete may not be appropriate. Employers who require these agreements from all employees can be wrongfully restricting their employment opportunities and livelihood.
  2. Is the agreement valid? Wisconsin has strict rules for what makes these employment contracts valid. Among these rules is the requirement that the agreement is reasonable in scope and aligns with public policy. If a document does not comply with these laws, courts may not enforce it. 
  3. What happens if you don’t sign it? If you do not sign a non-compete agreement, an employer can choose not to hire you or terminate you. However, if you are presented with this document, you might work with an attorney to negotiate the terms or request higher pay. 
  4. Are you clear on the terms? You should not sign any contract without reading it and making sure you understand it. For instance, you should know what the restrictions would be upon leaving your job.

If you have already signed a non-compete agreement and wish to challenge it, you can explore your options for doing so. Generally, courts can set aside employment contracts that are overly broad, unreasonable or invalid. 

If your employer accuses you of violating the terms of an agreement, they can send a cease and desist letter to you or your new employer. If an alleged violation continues, the employer may pursue legal remedies and financial damages.

Considering how much is at stake when it comes to non-compete agreements in Wisconsin, it is crucial to take them seriously and seek legal guidance. You can contact the Milwaukee employment law attorneys of Alan C. Olson and Associates to discuss your case.

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