Are you considering leaving your job to start your own business or joining a competing company? You’re far from alone as employees and employers continue to navigate “The Great Resignation“. You’re also not alone in worrying about your non-compete agreement and potential litigation resulting from your move.
There will never be a risk-free transition, but you can take steps to minimize your risk. A knowledgeable employment law attorney can advise you on specific circumstances, but the following tips apply to most transitions.
Read Between the Lines
You may not officially have a non-compete agreement, but overbearing non-solicitation and trade secrets agreements often masquerade as non-compete agreements. An attorney can advise you about your rights and obligations before you switch jobs.
Don’t Leave In a Firestorm
Many employees have exposure to non-compete litigation but aren’t sued; don’t give your current employer a reason to feel good about raking you over the coals on your way out. If you have nothing nice to say about your current employer, don’t say anything. Also, avoid any actions threatening your employer, such as taking your coworkers with you.
Don’t Take Any Unnecessary Data
Taking customer lists that the company owns and other sensitive data is a red flag for employers, making litigation more likely. Of course, there are legitimate reasons to take data with you – such as ownership of customer lists or preservation of evidence – but you should consult an attorney to ensure you are going about things the right way.
Be Aware of Geographical Restrictions
Many non-compete agreements contain geographical restrictions. This issue is starting to wane due to more remote positions, but starting a new business in the same geographic market as your current company can create an additional risk of litigation.
Don’t Let Fear of a Non-Compete Limit Your Career Aspirations
It’s good to be thoughtful and cautious when considering a career move. However, don’t let fear of a potential non-compete lawsuit stop you from pursuing your career goals. Seek the advice of a proven employment lawyer to put your mind at ease and ensure you have the information you need to make a confident decision about your next step.