There are many issues that a business owner must address in order to protect that business from unfair competition. One of the most common steps an owner will take is to use non-compete agreements when hiring new employees. These agreements are written contracts in which the employee agrees that in the event they are no longer employed at the company, they will not go to work for a competitor of the business for a set period of time after they leave their job. Unfortunately, there are cases where an ex-employee does not honor the non-compete agreement. If you have an ex-employee that has violated their agreement, there are steps you can take to protect your company. A business non-compete agreement lawyer can help.

Conduct an Exit Interview

When an employee leaves, it is important for the employer to conduct an exit interview. During this interview, the employer should do their best to make sure the exiting employee does not have access to the company’s client list or other critical business information. This is also a good time to remind the employee of the non-compete agreement they signed and to try to determine what their future plans are. Unfortunately, not every instance of an employee leaving is done on good terms and you may not be able to ascertain this information which will necessitate taking additional steps.

Options for Non-Compete Agreement Violations

If you find out that the employee has violated the agreement and accepted a job with a competitor, they may want to call the new employer and let that business know that the employee may not be available because they have violated the agreement. The employer may also want to speak to a lawyer about having a cease-and-desist order sent. This letter will summarize the terms of the agreement, the obligations the employee agreed to when they signed the agreement, the case law that applies to how the employee is now violating the law, and what types of damages the employer intends to pursue if the employee does not stop violating the agreement. A cease-and-desist letter does not always have an effect on a violating former employee and litigation may become necessary. In some cases, the parties may try an alternative dispute resolution option, such as arbitration or mediation. If all options fail, the employer may have no other option but to file a lawsuit against the employee.

Contact a Business Law Firm

If you would like help in drafting a non-compete agreement or have issues with a former employee who is violating an existing agreement, contact an experienced attorney, like a Des Moines IA business non-compete agreement lawyer from the Law Group of Iowa.

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