You signed a noncompete agreement when you started working for your current employer a few years ago. Now, you would like to switch roles, but do not see an appropriate next step within the organization. You’ve decided that you would like to work for another firm, but can you?
Noncompete agreements are not always enforceable. Learn more about these agreements and when they may be challenged.
Protecting your employer
Noncompete agreements were designed to protect companies from their competitors. Preventing employees from transferring to a competitor’s firm secures trade secrets and key industry knowledge that are important for a company to maintain their leading edge.
Protecting the employee
However, Colorado is also interested in protecting the employee, and their ability to work in their chosen profession. The court will not enforce a noncompete agreement that is overly burdensome to the employee. In fact, state laws says that all noncompete agreements are invalid, unless:
- They are designed to protect a company’s trade secrets.
- The agreements are created for the sale of a company or its assets.
- A company funded part of an employee’s education and training, and the employee is bound by a contractual obligation for two years so the firm can recoup their expenses.
- Executives, management and their personnel may all be subject to noncompete agreements.
Look over the terms of your noncompete
Before you do anything, sit down and carefully read through the terms of your noncompete agreement. It should spell out the duration of your noncompete, geographical restrictions and the employment opportunities that you may not accept.
If your employer’s noncompete agreement is too broad in scope, it may be rejected by the courts. It should be able to protect the company, but not extend beyond this goal. If you are confused by the terms of the agreement, it may be prudent to speak with an attorney to ensure that you do not accidentally breach the contract, or so you can lawfully challenge an unfair agreement.