When you work with new employees, one thing you may want to add to your employment contract is a non-compete agreement. A non-compete agreement is beneficial for your business in many ways. It helps you protect your own interests and prevents your employees from going to similar businesses and sharing your trade secrets.
Employees could do a lot of harm to your business if they were able to come and go freely with the information that they have. You are allowed to add a non-compete agreement to obligate employees to refrain from doing business with leads or customers belonging to your business.
When would you want to consider a non-compete agreement?
You may want to seek a non-compete agreement when you are hiring new staff or promoting certain staff members to higher positions.
It is up to you to decide at what point you want to include a non-compete agreement in your employment contracts. It may be in your best interests to have one no matter who works for you, so that you can protect any information they may receive about your company.
What should you do if you believe that one of your employees has violated the non-compete agreement?
The first thing to do is to talk to them. You should ask if they are working with a client that used to come to your business or if they had shared information with a third party. Sometimes, employees may not realize that they had violated the agreement, so it would be up to you to handle that in whatever way you felt was necessary.
If you find that an employee intentionally violated the non-compete agreement and has harmed your business as a result, then it's important for you to talk to your attorney before taking further action. You will want to know more about the law and how to enforce your non-compete agreement before approaching them or taking them to court. You will need evidence that the agreement was breached and that it caused harm to your business in most cases.
If you believe that a current or past employee has violated your non-compete agreement, it is important that you take legal steps to protect your business and stop that information from spreading. An egregious violation of your agreement needs to be nipped in the bud as soon as it can be, because letting it go for too long may end up costing your company more than a single secret or client.