Multinational corporations, including the Whirlpool Corporation located in Benton Harbor, Michigan, often request (or demand) their employees sign non-compete agreements.
What is a non-compete agreement?
Non-compete agreements are a contract between an employer and employee. The contract typically restricts an employee’s ability to leave his or her current position to join a similar or competing business. Many times the contract also places restrictions on the use of confidential information obtained through the individual’s current employment.
Are non-compete agreements legal?
Yes, but there are limits. Non-compete agreements are enforceable to protect the employer’s legitimate business interests and must be reasonable in terms of geographical scope and duration.
Often times employers intentionally draft non-compete agreements that cross the line. Whirlpool Corporation has previously drafter and required employees to sign noncompete agreements that, in part, have been ruled unenforceable. See Whirlpool Corp v Burns, 457 F Supp 2d 808 (WD MI 2006).
What should you do if required to sign a non-compete agreement?
At the very least, you should understand the terms and conditions of the contract by consulting with an attorney. You may be able to edit the contract to clear up ambiguities or obtain additional consideration in exchange for your signature.
If you have been asked to sign a non-compete agreement, contact our St. Joseph, Michigan office today at 269-281-3908 or through the form below.