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Searching for a job with a noncompete agreement

Texas executives may be concerned about the potential effect a noncompete provision may have on their professional future. This is often a part of an employment agreement, and it typically includes language that prevents the executive from taking work with competitors or launching an independent business for a certain period of time after leaving the firm. While employers tend to favor these agreements in order to protect trade secrets, intellectual property and other insider knowledge, they can pose a significant barrier for employees who want to move on.

Even workers outside the executive sphere are often asked to sign these agreements, especially in industries where intellectual property is a major factor. Indeed, one-fifth of the country's employees are currently working in jobs where they have signed noncompete agreements. Fourteen percent of these workers make less than $40,000 annually, bringing into question whether these agreements are proper for low-wage workers. Many people may want to avoid signing these types of agreements if at all possible but face a difficult time declining work.

In many cases, people who have left highly technical or executive positions will be asked by prospective employers about any noncompetes that are in force. It is important to properly disclose this information, as it could be considered a material misrepresentation. In addition, it can be important to seek modifications that are less restrictive of an employee's ability to move on in the future.

People who are looking to change jobs but have an existing noncompete agreement may wonder how its provisions will affect their search. An employment lawyer can provide specific advice and guidance about how a noncompete may affect future plans as well as the potential to challenge it.

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