Severance Negotiations and Review of Non-Compete Agreements
Don’t Go it Alone
The average American will have ten different jobs before the age of 40, and the number is growing. Researchers predict that today’s youngest workers will hold twelve to fifteen jobs in their lifetime. Many of these job changes will not be voluntary; they will occur as a result of unexpected layoffs or terminations.
Job loss is extremely stressful. The terminated employee is concerned about providing for themselves and their families during their search for a new job. When employers offer a severance agreement, which includes severance pay, the natural reaction is to want to accept quickly for fear the severance agreement will be withdrawn.
Typically, the severance agreement will contain a “waiver” clause. The terminated employee is required to “waive” all of their legal claims against their employer in order to get the severance pay. If the terminated worker waives their legal claims, they cannot later sue their employer, even if they believe their termination was for an illegal reason.
The Law Offices of Jason E Taylor have experienced lawyers who can review the severance agreement and explain the impact of every clause or provision of the agreement to the terminated employee. In addition, they can help with possible negotiations with the employer over the amount of severance pay being offered. Finally, they can help the employee decide if waiving all of their legal claims is a wise decision.
Non-Compete Agreements - The Devil is in the Detail
With more and more frequency, employees are being asked to sign Employment Agreements which contain non-compete clauses, when they are hired and about to start a new job. It is common for the newly-hired employee to be so excited to get the new job opportunity that they sign the Employment Agreement without reading it or understanding the long-term impact of the non-compete clause. Employees should never make this mistake.
Employees need to understand that non-compete agreements, and non-solicitation agreements, prevent an employee from working for competitors of their employer, or contacting the employees or customers of their employer, for a period of time after their employment ends. These restrictive agreements can have a dramatic and limiting impact on the employee’s ability to get other jobs in the future.
The best time to consult an attorney about a non-compete agreement is before you sign the agreement. It’s wise to understand the full impact of any legal document before you sign it and limit yourself in the future. The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor are available to help employees review these non-compete agreements and make educated decisions about signing the agreement at the start of their employment or also offer suggestions about possibly negotiating a modification or limitation of the scope of the non-compete agreement.
However, if you signed a non-compete agreement in the past and are considering a job change, and are worried the new job may require you to possibly violate the non-compete, it’s also a good time to consult an attorney. Simply changing jobs and violating the non-compete agreement exposes the employee to litigation filed by their former employer. Litigation can be costly.
Not all non-compete agreements are enforceable. The courts in North Carolina and South Carolina have legal standards which determine if a non-compete is appropriate. In determining whether a non-compete is enforceable, the Courts look to the time period an employee is restricted, the scope of the restriction, and the geographic area contained in the non-compete.