Many employees in the Denver area will inevitably get to know a lot about their employer's business in connection with their jobs. This is particularly true when an employee has a job that involves the handling of sensitive information, is in a position of leadership or, in some cases, is just someone who has been with the same employer for a long time.
Employers attempt in many ways to protect the business advantages they enjoy because of their closely-held trade secrets. They also work hard to protect the time and energy they invest in training an employee, as they don't want to develop an employee only to have a competitor enjoy the benefits.
As a result, they may insist that their employees sign what is referred to as a noncompete agreement. While these are great for employers who are trying to limit the ability of their employees to take their talents, and their employer's secrets, to a competitor, they are not so good for employees who want to change jobs to better their lives and the lives of their families.
Many noncompete agreements are enforceable under Colorado law, so if an employee is asked to sign one, it is probably best to have the language reviewed by an employment law attorney first. Our law office routinely provides this service for clients.
However, not every noncompete is enforceable, and others may, although legitimate in theory, be simply too long or too broad for a court to be willing to enforce. For instance, agreements not to work for a competitor that last for more than a year are often suspect.
If an employee has signed a noncompete agreement and now regrets that choice or, as is likely, felt pressured to do so at the time, he or she may have options. Our office can help employees evaluate their options and, if necessary, take legal steps to avoid the agreement.