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Should you sign a noncompete agreement?

On Behalf of | Sep 18, 2020 | Employment law |

If you have been struggling to find work, it’s a relief when an employer wants to hire you. However, as eager as you may be to sign on the dotted line, you need to review your new contract of employment.

More and more employers in Ohio and the U.S. insert noncompete clauses into employee contracts. While this may not seem a big deal now, it could cause you problems the next time you need to find a job.

A noncompete agreement does nothing for you as an employee unless you receive extra benefits in exchange for signing. In many cases, there is no tangible benefit for the company either. Yet, it has become standard practice among many employers.

It is understandable if you must sign one before joining a pharmaceutical company to work on a vaccine to save the world. The knowledge you acquire could lose them billions if you took your expertise to a rival firm. However, if you work flipping burgers, selling cars or as a doctor, it makes little sense. Yet a 2019 study by the Economic Policy Institute found that millions of workers across all sectors have been forced to sign them. A third of companies interviewed made all workers sign one, and over half of all companies made at least some sign one.

The good news is that many courts are standing up for workers’ rights when former employers try to enforce a noncompete. If you were to go to court, an Ohio judge would base their decision on whether the noncompete is reasonable. With many employers laying people off, many judges are ruling noncompetes are not reasonable when the employer can no longer provide work.

Have an employment law attorney check a noncompete agreement before you sign to save future issues.