As one of the many successful business owners in Ohio, you know that it takes a lot to protect your company. One way you may wish to do that is with non-compete agreements. The problem with non-competes is that they are not all created equal.
If you think you can Google non-competes and just download a standard form, well, you're right. You most certainly can. This does not mean that doing so would be a wise decision, however. A lot goes into creating a strong and valid non-compete. A standard form will not provide the protection you really need, and it may not even hold up in court.
Why use non-competes?
Non-competes are not necessary for every field of employment, but for some companies, having employees sign these contracts can help protect the business down the line. The purpose of a non-compete agreement is to prevent an employee from leaving and going into direct competition with your business. These contracts also work to prevent former employees from passing on sensitive information about your company that would benefit your competitors -- such as your marketing plans, future products, strategy and client details, among other things.
What should a non-compete include?
In order for a non-compete to be strong and legally binding, what you include in the document and how you word the contract matters. A good non-compete agreement, one that should hold up in court, would include the following information:
- Contract effective date
- Purpose of the agreement
- Geographical specifics
- Compensation details
If a non-compete is lacking information, if the compensation for signing is unfair, or if the duration and geographical specifics of the agreement are on the extreme side, it may not be legally binding. This means that your employee can take you to court to get out of the contract. This can end up costing you in time and money.
If you're going to do it, do it right
If you believe that non-competes will be good for your business, use them. Just make sure, before anyone signs anything, that the agreement is solid and works to protect your company now and in the future. A business law attorney with experience drafting legally binding non-compete agreements would be a good resource if you have questions about what non-competes can do for your Ohio-based business.