HR Administration

Dear Workforce Do People Offer Only One Kind of Noncompete

By Staff Report

Sep. 7, 2011

QDearWorkforce: 


   Can you do two kinds of noncompetes in one company? Management is requestingone type for the support people and another for thesales reps. (The support people have a stricter policy…fashion that!) 


 -Denise 


ADear Denise: 


    In today’shighly competitive, job-hopping market, forging noncompete, non-disclosure andnon-solicitation agreements between employer and employee are certainly commonpractice. The purpose of such agreements is to bolster an employee’s”duty of loyalty” to their employer. In general terms, these agreements are an attempt to quell employees frombecoming unrestricted, “job-hopping” free agents armed with proprietaryand/or protected information. 


    With thatsaid, you may wish to consider agreements tailored to an employee’s jobfunction. As employees have varying degrees of access to company information andexposure to clients, your company may find it necessary to use two, three, oreven more types of noncompete agreements. 


    Case inpoint, an employee in an engineering management position may have greaterexposure to proprietary company information compared to a sales representative,and conversely, the sales representative will have greater exposure to clientsand the protocols and intellectual property associated with the company’sclient relations programs.


    Therefore, per this example, each employeewould warrant a different agreement to best protect the company’s assets.What’s more, as a person changes positions, you should consider whether newresponsibilities require a change in the noncompete. 


   As you draft a noncompete agreement, ensure it is obvious what interests yourcompany is trying to protect and why. The agreement must give the employee clearand unequivocal notice of what post-employment activities are restricted. Tofind out if the noncompete clause that you signed is enforceable, consult withan attorney who has experience with employment or business law. 


 


SOURCE:Benchmark HR, Salem, New Hampshire. 


E-mailyour Dear Workforce questions toOnline Editor Todd Raphael at raphaelt@workforce.com,along with your name, title, organization and location. Unless you stateotherwise, your identifying information  maybe used on Workforce.com and in Workforcemagazine. We can’t guarantee we’ll be able to answer every question.



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