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June 2013

Non-Compete Agreements for Small Business

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Non-Compete Agreements for Small BusinessYou’ve invested everything into your business. When you bring in new employees you want them to help push your company forward. The last thing you want is for them to take all of the knowledge about how your business operates, and the clients it deals with, and leave. You want to train employees not competitors. That’s why carefully hand-crafting non-compete agreements and other employee documents is so important to your business.

Non-Solicitation Agreements

These documents are to prevent an employee from contacting clients that you work with. A client list is an extremely valuable asset that competitors would love to access and it should be protected. These agreements can also be modified to prevent former employees from recruiting your current staff to work for your competitors.

Non-Disclosure Agreements

These documents are to protect proprietary information. Your competition would love to know your trade secrets, but you want those to stay with your company. When an employee leaves the company, those secrets should stay secret. You need to make sure that the information is truly proprietary. Just because you “feel” the information is confidential, does not mean a court will agree with you.

Work For Hire Agreements

Intellectual property belongs to the person who created it. A work for hire agreement ensures that the ownership of inventions, documents, concepts, and other intellectual property remains with your company. This states that the employee was hired to create these items for you and not themselves.

Employee Handbook

These manuals are often used as a means of conveniently distributing all of the agreements in a single source. These handbooks cover all of the companies policies, specifically stating what can and cannot be done.

If legal issues arise, a court is not going to find in your favor simply because you write something down, for example Amazon recently sued a former employee over non-compete and lost. Crafting your documents requires very delicate wording and is not something you should not attempt without legal assistance.

At Gutglass, Erickson, Bonville & Larson, we understand the challenges of dealing with legal issues for your business and we are here to help. Give us a call and we will be happy to answer all your questions. Call us today at (414) 273-1144.