Who Do You Generally Work With When It Comes To Reviewing Or Drafting Employment Agreements And Contracts?
I have worked with both employers and employees in drafting employment agreements and contracts. Most recently, the employers that I have been working with our medical practices involved in bringing on professional staff and looking to expand their business.
The employees that I have been working with recently are executives in the pharmaceutical/medical industry who are either:
- Looking to have their existing employment contracts reviewed (so that they know their rights and their obligations to their current employer)
- Looking for future employment
- Looking to advance their careers
- Reviewing an employment contract that they have been offered by a potential new employer.
What Is A Non-Compete Agreement When It Comes To Employment Contracts?
A non-compete agreement is a document that seeks to legally prevent an employee from doing the same or similar work for another company that they currently do for their current company.
Non-competes are treated differently in different places. In California, for example, you can’t have a non-compete at all. In Pennsylvania, the courts don’t like non-competes because they generally don’t like to prevent people from making a living, but at the same time, they are sometimes willing to respect a company’s interest in not training someone so they can go become their direct competition.
As such, non-competes need to be written very specifically and in a way that will be most likely to stand in the state where you need it to stand. They also have to have certain limitations in order for them to be valid.
Often, the value of a non-compete isn’t so much whether or not it will ultimately be successful at preventing the employee from doing similar work somewhere else. Rather, the value of non-competes tend to be in the threat of the company trying to impose it on the employee, and all the costs and difficulties associated with that.
If An Employee Or Executive Is Considering Signing A New Contract, What Should They Look Out For Or Be Aware Of When It Comes To Non-Competes?
If a prospective employee or executive is considering signing a contract with a non-compete, they should look at what the restrictions and limitations of the non-compete are. This will give them a sense of whether or not the non-compete is actually enforceable. If it seems enforceable, the employee or executive may want to try to get it removed (which is generally optimal), or to get it limited as much as possible. That way, if and when the time comes for them to move on, there will be less potential limitation as they try to work elsewhere.
If Someone Gets Fired, Are They Still Bound To A Non-Compete Agreement?
The real answer to this question is that it depends on how the non-compete agreement is written and what the terms are. However, generally, no matter how (or if) your employment ends with the company, you are likely still bound by the non-compete agreement that you signed. If the non-compete specifies that it no longer binds you under certain circumstances (like being fired), then obviously it will no longer apply under those circumstances. However, unless otherwise specified, you are likely still bound by the non-compete.
What this means depends largely on who the company is and what their attitudes are. Are they going to try to enforce the non-compete on you? Different companies are more vigorous in their enforcement of those kinds of clauses than others.
When It Comes To Employment Contracts And Non-Competes, What Can You Do As An Attorney For An Executive Or Professional Who Wants To Leave A Company And/Or Go Work For Another Company?
If the client has an existing contract/agreement, then I can review the contract and sit down with the client for a consultation on same. In such a consultation, I would
- Review and explain what the contract actually says
- Explain the ways in which the contract could be applied
- Describe and brainstorm about the types of options that they may or may not have in dealing with the existing company
Going forward, we try to work with clients to craft agreements that are as beneficial to them as possible.
Beyond Non-Competes, Are There Any Other Specific Things In Employment Contracts That Potential Employees Should Be Aware Of?
There are many things beyond non-competes that potential employees should be aware of when it comes to employment contracts.
For one, they should look at what is stipulated in the contract as constituting “for-cause” termination. This is a definition laid out in many contracts that is worth paying attention to. Often, “for-cause” can be defined as a lot more than simply not doing a satisfactory job. This is something that is worth looking into to ensure that you are protected. Around this same “for cause” section, you will want to look at what happens to employees if they leave for no reason versus if they leave for a “for cause” reason.
The “for cause” section also comes back around to the issue of the non-compete. If you are eliminated “for cause”, then you want to make sure that the non-compete will no longer be applicable. Even if you’re fired for cause just as you were going to be laid off for other reasons, you want to make sure the contract states that the non-compete no longer applies.
As A Professional, Can I Bring In An Attorney To Sit Down And Go Through My Contract? Is Your Firm Able To Come In And Sit With My Potential Or Former Employer And Guide Me Through The Process As My Representative?
For more information on Employment Law in Pennsylvania, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (610) 649-3769 today.
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