Fighting unfair noncompetition agreements


A recent post on this blog reminded readers that Rhode Island law allows employers to put noncompetition clauses into their employment contracts. These agreements might prevent an employee from being able to work in his or her profession or trade after he or she leaves his or her current place of work.

This sort of situation can be very frustrating because it puts an employee in a dilemma. On the one hand, they probably need to keep working after they leave their current position, and the best way to earn a good salary at the next job is to continue working in an area in which one has knowledge and experience. On the other hand, doing so in the face of a noncompetition agreement exposes the employer, and his or her new employer, to the possibility of getting sued.

While our law office cannot undo a perfectly valid noncompetition agreement, there are a couple areas in which we can help an employee avoid getting into a serious legal and financial bind. For one, we represent employees who are contemplating signing an employment contract or are in the process of negotiating a separation agreement.

In addition to giving our clients sound advice, we can also negotiate assertively in order to get more reasonable terms to a noncompetition clause, particularly if the terms as written overreach and most particularly if the employee is leaving his or her workplace and, for the first time, is being asked to sign an agreement with a noncompetition clause.

Under the right circumstances, we may also be able to help an employee fight a noncompetition clause in court should the terms of the clause be overly broad or unreasonable under Rhode Island law.

Our office works hard to fight against noncompetition agreements that are unfair to employees because we understand, and appreciate, how important it is for employees to be able to move on with their lives and keep earning a living.

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