The Minnesota employment law attorneys at Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A. have extensive experience representing both employees and employers in non-compete litigation, as well the negotiation and review of non-compete agreements.
Non-compete provisions contained in employment contracts generally restrict an employee’s ability to work for a competitor following the end of the employment relationship for a period of time. In other cases, the agreement may prohibit the employee from soliciting or doing business with the former employer’s customers, vendors, or employees.
Contrary to popular myth, non-compete agreements can be enforced under many circumstances, provided that the agreement meets legal requirements and is reasonable in scope. Before signing a non-compete agreement, or considering breaking such an agreement, you should seek legal counsel.
Under Minnesota law, for a non-compete agreement to be enforceable, the agreement must:
- be supported by adequate legal consideration (i.e., provide the employee with something of value in exchange, such as the initial job offer or a subsequent raise, promotion, or bonus);
- serve a legitimate employer interest (such as protecting confidential information, trade secrets, or customer goodwill); and
- be reasonable in scope, duration, and geography.
TMB regularly assists employees with interpreting non-compete agreements. The Firm has developed a customized flat fee package to help provide review and analysis of your agreement. By understanding the scope and limits of the agreement, the employee can make an informed decision about employment and career options.
In addition to reviewing and negotiating the terms of non-compete agreements, TMB represents employees and employers in the defense of lawsuits alleging breach of a non-compete agreement or misappropriation of trade secrets. Often, such lawsuits involve an emergency motion for Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). If you have received a “cease and desist letter,” or have been served with a lawsuit seeking a TRO, it is important that you act swiftly to protect your rights. The judge may be asked to make important decisions about whether to impose an injunction against you to prohibit your competition in the first 24, 48, or 72 hours of the lawsuit.
While many of TMB’s clients in this area are employees, TMB also works with employers to draft effective, reasonable, and enforceable non-compete agreements that protect the employer’s legitimate interests while not unreasonably interfering with the employee’s right to earn a living. By instituting narrowly-tailored non-compete and non-solicitation provisions, an employer can protect its confidential information and customer goodwill.
If you have questions about non-compete, non-solicitation, or non-disclosure agreements, the attorneys of TMB would welcome the opportunity to represent you.