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Texas Non-Compete Agreements Just Got Easier to Enforce

Just recently, the Texas Supreme Court handed down a decision that will make non-compete agreements a whole lot easier for employers to enforce.

Anytime there is a change in employment law and you happen to be running a business, make it a point to contact your Dallas business lawyer and ask what the latest changes mean for you. The most recent change, as a result of a Texas Supreme Court ruling, will now make any non-compete agreements you sign with employees a lot easier to enforce.

The ruling in a nutshell means that an employer will now be able to enforce their non-compete restrictions, even if the agreement in question did not offer anything of value to the worker at the time the agreement was signed. Typically, agreements of this nature are signed when the employee is first hired.

When it handed down its ruling, the Supreme Court offered the opinion that it wasn’t too pleased with lower courts and attorneys for going overboard and reading way too much into its 1994 decision; a decision which has, until now, governed non-compete agreements. In essence, the court felt that the requirements that these kinds of agreements arise out of are enforceable agreements between an employer and worker, and were never meant to create the “overly technical disputes” that have dotted the legal landscape relating to non-compete agreements in Texas since 1994.

What does this new ruling mean? Very simply, it means that just about every non-compete agreement will now be considered enforceable, whereas prior to this recent decision, most of these agreements weren’t enforceable. This of course is quite the turn of the tables and to understand what it means legally, it’s best to talk to a seasoned Dallas business lawyer. In particular, employers need to be asking questions about how this decision will affect at-will workers, since they have no guarantees of having a permanent job.

As it stands now, with this decision being handed down, at-will employees will be the largest group of workers affected. At one time, employers had to offer their workers something of value to keep them working; this decision now makes that practice less than clear. Overall, it will mean an employee will have a harder time trying to invalidate a non-compete agreement. This Supreme Court decision will mean the focus in non-compete cases will be on whether or not the restrictions contained in the agreement are indeed reasonable.
In you’re facing a hiring situation where you are being asked to sign a non-compete agreement, take the document to a skilled Dallas business lawyer and discuss its ramifications. KnowingE what you are getting into “before” something happens later is a smart move, because if you sign something without legal advice and the right information, you will be stuck.

If you’re an employer who needs to know how this new ruling will affect your ability to have non-compete agreements signed, contact a seasoned Dallas business lawyer for information.

Seth Wilburn writes for the The Gomez Firm, a Dallas employment lawyer and Dallas business lawyer. To learn more, visit Gomezlawyers.com.