Many St. Louis companies rely on sensitive customer data to remain competitive in the marketplace. As a matter of business, they give their employees access to this information. It is only natural that businesses would want to protect their interests after a worker leaves the company. This can result in a company requiring an employee to sign a non-solicitation agreement.
Non-solicitation agreements prevent a worker from stealing or converting their old employer’s clients. This can include taking customer lists or leveraging a previous relationship with a client into a new business model. Fortunately for workers, state law restricts the legality of these agreements and limits their scope. A St. Louis non-solicitation agreement lawyer can help if you have concerns about signing one of these employment contracts or are facing allegations of a potential breach.
Many companies in the St. Louis area require workers to sign non-solicitation agreements. In short, these agreements aim to prevent workers who are leaving the company from taking information that they have received to build a competitor in the marketplace. Proprietary information such as customer lists, goodwill in the community, and prior relationships with other entities may fall under this umbrella.
Fortunately for workers, prior case law in Missouri places a limit on the scope of non-solicitation agreements. The case of Whelan Sec. Co. v. Kennebrew, 379 S.W.3d 825 (Mo. 2012) upheld that any non-solicitation agreement must meet a reasonableness standard in categories such as geography, length of time, and the restricted information.
The court stated that a non-solicitation agreement may protect the property of a company but must also take the right of a worker into account by not being overly strict. It is advisable to ask a St. Louis attorney about the laws that govern the legality of non-solicitation contracts.
While employers commonly require workers to sign non-solicitation contract, there is often room for negotiation. A St. Louis lawyer can evaluate the language of a proposed non-solicitation agreement and help workers negotiate more favorable terms that fall under the limits of the law.
An attorney can also help if an employee is facing allegations involving an apparent breach of contract. They can work to answer any complaints and evaluate the language of the contract to determine whether it meets the standard set down by law. They could also argue that an agreement is illegal on its face or dispute whether an individual’s actions violate the terms of an otherwise valid contract.
Non-solicitation agreements are a controversial topic in the employment world. Companies certainly have an interest in protecting their information and reputation. At the same time, workers have the right to seek out new employment after leaving a business. Any non-solicitation agreement that seeks to limit this ability could be subject to civil penalties.
A St. Louis non-solicitation agreement lawyer can answer your questions about these contracts and take the lead in negotiating better terms. An attorney can also help defend your rights if you face allegations related to an alleged breach. Reach out to our firm now to learn more.