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Can My Former Employer Stop Me From Working for a Competitor

Can your former employer stop you from working for a competitor in Texas? In some situations, yes, if you signed a valid non-compete agreement with your previous employer. However, these agreements only work in specific conditions in Texas.

If your former employer tried to prevent you from working for the competition, you have rights. Our commercial litigation team at the Buzbee Law Firm can help you review your options if an old employer tries to restrict your job opportunities. We’re ready to assess your situation today.

Can a Company Make You Not Work for a Competitor in Texas?

Many business owners in Texas ask employees to sign non-compete agreements at some point in their employment. Companies use these agreements to prevent you from quitting and working for a competitor.

According to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), Texas allows businesses to use non-compete agreements. However, many states around the country consider these agreements non-enforcible.

However, Texas does not enforce all non-compete agreements. The courts only uphold reasonable contracts. You can learn more about valid and invalid agreements with a business lawyer in Texas.

Can You Work for a Competitor if You Signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement?

Non-disclosure agreements do not prevent you from working for a competitor. Instead, these agreements prevent you from sharing confidential details about your prior employer’s business practices.

You should be able to work wherever you like, even with a non-disclosure agreement. However, you could face legal repercussions if you violate the terms of the agreement by sharing confidential information.

For a free legal consultation, call 844-349-9196

Can a Texas Company Sue You for Going to a Competitor?

If you signed a valid and reasonable non-compete agreement with your old employer, you have to abide by the terms of the contract. If you break the terms by working with a designated competitor, your old employer may have legal recourse.

Employers cannot file a lawsuit against you in every situation, but the option does exist, depending on your circumstances. You can speak to a business lawyer about your non-compete agreement to discuss your legal options.

Are There Federal Regulations on Non-Compete Agreements?

For many years, the federal government let states dictate non-compete agreement laws. However, there have been increasing concerns about companies restricting the labor market and discouraging healthy competition in the workforce in recent years.

The Biden administration released an Executive Order to address this issue. According to the order, around 60 million workers face non-compete agreements, which can prevent them from securing the dignity and fair wages they deserve.

Under the order, the president pushed for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to ban or limit non-compete agreements. This legislation may change laws to benefit employees in Texas in the future.

What Makes a Non-Compete Agreement Enforceable in Texas?

Can your former employer stop you from working for a competitor in Texas? Currently, yes, your former employer could restrict your job options in some cases.

While the state of Texas recognizes that employee mobility restrictions harm the free market, the system still upholds some non-compete agreements. However, the court requires that any employment restrictions remain “reasonable in scope” and part of an “otherwise enforceable agreement.”

However, the court often determines whether or not an agreement is reasonable on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, your old employer may try to limit your job options, taking you to court even if you find their restrictions unreasonable.

When Does Texas Enforce Non-Compete Agreements?

The courts in Texas often choose how to handle non-compete agreements on a case-by-case basis. However, the system may be more likely to side with your old employer in cases involving:

  • Confidential information
  • Trade secrets
  • Protection of goodwill

business litigation lawyer can assess your situation if you face a non-compete agreement in Texas, providing advice on how to proceed.

What Happens if You Violate a Texas Non-Compete Agreement?

The results of violating a non-compete agreement can vary. First, your old employer has to prove they have a valid agreement and that you violated the terms. Generally, these agreements control the type of work you can do and the kind of employers you have to avoid.

However, non-compete agreements do not have infinite scope. They may only prevent you from finding work within a specific range of your old employer or for a specific amount of time. Therefore, they may expire over time.

If the court decides that you violated the agreement, however, you may owe your old employer a fine and could have to leave your current job.

Can You Get Out of a Non-Compete Agreement in Texas?

You may contact a business lawyer if you believe you’re under an unfair and unenforceable non-compete agreement. Your lawyer can assess the agreement you signed, reviewing the restrictions to see if they’re legally enforceable.

If your lawyer can dispute the agreement, it may allow you to move on to the new career that you want.

Additionally, recent adjustments to federal law may make it easier for you to work around a non-compete agreement in our area. Finally, depending upon the FTC’s reactions to President Biden’s Executive Order, you may have more freedom with your employment future.