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Non-compete vs. exclusive employment clauses

Employment contracts are a complicated matter and should receive very specific attention before you sign one, regardless of the employer. Often, when a person receives a job offer from a particularly desirable employer, he or she may want to accept a job before fully understanding the contract in from of him or her. Two elements of employment contracts that can lead to litigation later on if not properly understood are non-compete and exclusive employment clauses.

The specifics of non-compete clauses vary from employer to employer, so it is crucial to examine the details of each particular contract to fully understand the scope of the clause your potential employer wants to you to sign on for. In general, non-compete clauses demand that an employee agree to not leave a company to work for another company that does a similar type of business, or found a company that does similar business. In most cases, these clauses entail a certain time fame and have geographical restrictions, such as agreeing to not work for a similar company in the same region for up to two years after leaving the employer.

Similarly, exclusive employment clauses require that an employee agree to not work for any other employer during the term of his or her employment, usually in the same or similar fields of work. In some cases, the contract may stipulate that an employee cannot hold stock in competitors, or offer voluntary services to any competitors.

Regardless of the contents of your employment contract, you deserve to understand each and every aspect of it before you sign on the dotted line. With proper guidance from an experienced attorney, you can ensure that you rights remain secure and that you fully understand your employment agreement before you sign it.

Source: Findlaw, "Employment Contracts and Compensation Agreements," accessed June 16, 2017

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