A non-compete agreement can be an effective way to protect your business interests. But they’re only powerful if you know how to enforce them. Otherwise, your former employee might immediately go to your competitor after leaving your employ to give them your secrets and a market advantage.
So, how do you go about enforcing your non-compete agreement? Let’s look at the steps that you should take to ensure that your interests are as fully protected as possible.
Monitoring your agreements
After your employee leaves your business, you need to try to keep tabs on them. When they put in their notice, remind them of the non-compete agreement and ask where they’re going to work next. You may then want to follow up after the employee leaves just to make sure.
Then, as time goes on, make sure that you keep a close eye on the market to see if anything seems suspicious. If you notice marketing techniques that are similar to yours, for example, you might want to dig into the matter further to see if you can determine if those similarities are being triggered by a breach of your non-compete agreement.
Asking the former employee to stop
If you find out that your former employee is acting in a way that breaches the non-compete agreement, you should probably reach out to them to inform them of the breach and to command that they stop the actions in question. Hopefully, this forceful request will cause them to stop, at which point you can assess your damage and consider whether additional legal action is warranted.
Reaching out to your former employee’s new employer
If you can’t reach the former employee or they refuse to stop the activity that violates the non-compete agreement, you might want to reach out to their current employer, who is probably one of your competitors. By letting them know about the non-compete agreement and the activity that’s problematic, you may find that they’ll want to avoid any legal risk and will immediately change the employee’s behavior.
Again, after the activity is stopped, you can consider if any financial harm has been caused to you and, if so, determine whether you should file a legal claim.
Seeking an injunction
If the steps discussed above don’t work, you might have to turn to the court to halt the former employee’s behavior. You can do this by asking the court to issue an injunction, which orders the employee to refrain from conducting specific acts. Violating an injunction can lead to a contempt finding, which can leave your former employee on the hook for a significant amount of compensation.
Fighting for your damages
Hopefully, once the activity that violates the non-compete agreement is stopped, you can turn to your legal options as far as covering your damages. Here, your best bet is probably to sue your former employee, but you might also be able to sue their current employer. Just remember that you’ll need evidence not only of the violating behavior but also of the financial harm that those acts have caused to you.
Are you ready to fight for what you deserve?
You’ve worked hard to build your business. You don’t want to see it all come crashing down because of a rogue former employee. But in order to protect yourself and your business, you have to know how to navigate the law to your advantage. Fortunately, an attorney who is experienced in business litigation can help you do that in an aggressive and effective manner.