In South Carolina, employers have the right to protect information that is essential for the success of their company. On the other hand, employees also have the right to move forward in their career, even when that means they have to leave their current employer. Due to the rights that both employers and employees have, disputes often arise when employers ask their workers to sign a non-compete agreement.
South Carolina encourages free enterprise and competition among businesses. For this reason, non-compete agreements are not always upheld by the courts. Still, employers use them often for a number of reasons. The courts in the state may uphold non-compete agreements when they protect trade secrets and still allow employees to make a living. A non-compete agreement attorney from Beth Santilli Law, LLC can help employers draft enforceable agreements and can review agreements for employees before they sign them.
How to Ensure Non-Compete Agreements are Enforceable
Non-compete agreements are sometimes very important, and necessary, for employers. To ensure an agreement is enforceable, it must contain the following provisions:
– Protect a specific business interest: Employers sometimes want an employee to sign a non-compete agreement because they have invested time in training the worker. Unfortunately, these contracts must protect a specific interest of the business, and losing a trained employee is not enough to deem an agreement enforceable.
– Reasonable time limit: Non-compete agreements should not exceed a certain period of time, typically two years in South Carolina.
– Limited to geographic regions: A non-compete agreement is not typically enforceable if it includes geographical locations in which the employer does not do business or does very little business.
– Appropriate consideration: Employers should ask employees to sign non-competes prior to when they begin work. If an employer raises the issue once the employee has already started working, the employer must provide them with sufficient consideration, such as a bonus, promotion, or a raise in salary.
– Employee Restrictions: Non-compete agreements must not be unduly harsh and oppressive in curtailing the efforts of the employee to earn a livelihood.
What Employees Must Know About Non-Compete Agreements
Employees should never feel pressured to sign a non-compete agreement. When employers ask a worker to sign these types of contracts, the employee should always fully understand what is required of them, and what the agreement prohibits. It is always advised to speak to an attorney who can review the agreement and ensure it is fair and reasonable on your behalf.
Employees that leave a job and are unsure of what their non-compete agreement entails should also speak to a lawyer who can help them understand the provisions and prevent a breach of contract lawsuit being filed against them. When necessary, an attorney can also help an employee challenge a non-compete agreement in order to protect his or her rights.
Get Legal Help Today
Whether you are an employer that wishes to draft a non-compete agreement or an employee who has been asked to sign one, our Mt. Pleasant non-compete agreement attorneys can help. At Beth Santilli Law, LLC, our attorneys know the provisions non-competes can and cannot include and will work hard to protect the rights of employers and employees alike. Contact us today to get the legal help you need.