Kansas City Non-Solicitation Agreements Lawyer
When you sign on to any new job, there are usually stipulations for your employment. Due to the type of information they deal with or their industry, some employers will have more stipulations than others. Non-solicitation agreements are more common in some Industries and absent in others. They are put in place to protect the employer but can place restrictions on you and feel like they’re limiting your direction career-wise.
A non-solicitation agreement may not be an issue while you’re still working for your employer, but once you’re ready to leave or forced to move on, it can create some problems. If you are moving on from your employer and have signed a non-solicitation agreement, there may be some things that your employer has insinuated that you cannot do. An experienced non-solicitation agreement lawyer will be able to review your agreement and give you quality legal advice on how you can move forward.
What Is a Non-Solicitation Agreement?
Non-solicitation agreements are written agreements between a specific employee and a company. The employee agrees not to solicit the company’s clients or give certain information to a competitor for a set period, typically one to two years, after their employment ends. The term “solicit” has a wide range of legal definitions. Still, it usually refers to contacting clients in order to influence them to conduct business with a new, different, or rival organization.
Non-solicitation agreements can be beneficial to a variety of industries. Many companies invest time, money, and resources to grow their client base and significant assets to keep their customer list discreet. Employers may want to prevent employees from acquiring access to customer lists, quitting their positions, then leading those consumers to a competing company.
Criteria Commonly Found in Non-Solicitation Agreements
Many non-compete agreements include a clause preventing the solicitation of a company’s clients, commonly written in the same paragraph. Typically, clauses will include the following employee requirements:
- The employee will not reveal the names of specific clients to a third party.
- The employee does not solicit or contact clients without the employer’s consent.
- The employee must not interfere with the employer-client relationship, such as discussing the company’s financial concerns or encouraging a client or business associate to leave the organization.
The employment contract will usually specify the penalty for breaking any of these or other conditions in the employment contract. An employer may fire, demote, or pursue legal action against a current or former employee suspected of violating a non-solicitation provision.
Common Reasons Employers Require Non-Solicitation Agreements
A non-solicitation agreement can be presented to an employee at any point in their employment. The best time is before the job starts since you can make signing it a condition of getting the job at that moment. You won’t be able to do that once you’ve hired them. Non-solicitation agreements are most commonly used by organizations with employees that engage with clients, customers, and other employees.
These contracts are in place to safeguard the connections between workers and customers. Some employees have access to client lists with extensive information and personal ties with each customer.
Companies can use non-solicitation agreements for a multitude of reasons, including to prevent:
- A former owner from taking any staff following a restructuring
- A leaving employee from asking their coworkers to join their new company
- A former employee from asking customers to support their new company instead of the old one
- Employees leaving the company with IP ownership of all the patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets they created on the job
Companies will sometimes seek to prevent indirect and passive solicitation, which typically creates a situation where a former employee who creates their own company is restricted from promoting their business. Such a restriction could be illegal because it would prevent a
business from informing anyone of its existence.
Are Non-Solicitation Agreements Enforceable in Kansas City?
Non-solicitation agreements primarily impact workers after they have terminated employment. While there is some sense and wanting to protect company and client information, it may seem unfair to try to control what an employee can do after they are no longer in your employment.
Fortunately, there are some restrictions on the enforceability of non-solicitation agreements in Kansas City. If you hire a lawyer to help you review your contract, you may even find that some of the stipulations aren’t valid or don’t extend to all actions.
Missouri Non-Solicitation Agreements
Non-solicitation agreements involving employees are generally enforceable in Missouri if they are no more stringent than is necessary to protect the employer’s legitimate interests or as long as the agreement is for one year or less.
The law recognizes that companies have a legitimate interest in retaining highly skilled staff without the risk of losing clients or trade secrets after an employee quits. Meanwhile, employees have a legitimate interest in having mobility between employers to provide for their families and advance their careers.
Kansas Non-Solicitation Agreements
Not all non-solicitation provisions are acceptable in Kansas. When determining whether a non-solicitation agreement is enforceable in Kansas, the courts consider four factors:
- Whether the agreement protects the employer’s legitimate interests
- Whether the agreement places an undue burden on the employee
- Whether the agreement is harmful to the general public
- Whether the agreement’s time and territorial limitations are reasonable
For employees, it’s not always clear what constitutes legitimate business interest. Examples of legitimate business interests that courts have recognized include customer contacts, special training of employees, trade secrets, confidential business information, loss of clients, good will, reputation, seeing that contracts with clients continue, and referral sources. However, the reasonableness of the time and territory restrictions of the non-solicitation agreement must be no greater than necessary to protect those business interests of the employer.
Consult a Kansas City Non-Solicitation Agreements Lawyer
For any contract or agreement, reading everything you are given in full is essential. However, sometimes the language in these legal documents can be complex or confusing, so it’s understandable to need help. Reach out to a Kansas City non-solicitation agreement lawyer to help you understand the terms and conditions of your agreement.
The legal professionals at Hollis Law Firm are well-versed in handling various legal matters related to employment. You can entrust our firm with your contract negotiation and other employment law cases. Learn more about non-solicitation agreements and schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You can call us at (800) 701-3672 or fill out our contact form.
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