Non-Compete Agreement Violations
Non-Compete Agreement Violation in Houston
Enforcing and Defending Claims in Non-Compete Agreement Disputes
Businesses depend on non-compete agreements to protect their proprietary information and prevent former employees, vendors, or contractors from using that information to compete against them for a reasonable length of time.
Whether you are a business owner watching in alarm as a former employee or supplier sets up competition against you, or a former employee facing allegations of a breached non-compete agreement, the Houston-based, non-compete litigation attorneys at Hendershot Cowart P.C. can help you. We are seasoned litigators skilled at defending and enforcing non-compete agreements.
On This Page
- Is a Non-Compete Agreement Enforceable in Texas?
- What Type of Relief or Damages Can I Pursue for Breach of a Non-Compete Agreement?
- My Employee Did Not Sign a Non-Compete – Can They Still Be Stopped From Competing Against Me?
- Preparing for Non-Compete Agreement Litigation
- Can Texas Courts Void or Modify Non-Compete Agreements?
- How Do I Get Out of a Non-compete Agreement in Texas?
- Non-Compete Violation Defense Strategies
- Additional Considerations for Physicians
- How Can the Team at Hendershot Cowart Help?
If you suspect an employee or former employee is violating their non-compete agreement, you must act quickly. Start by gathering the facts and consulting an attorney to ensure you have legal grounds for your claim.
- Documents: Make sure you have a copy of every document the employee in question signed. If your employee signed a non-compete agreement in exchange for benefits, gather records of the benefits awarded as well.
- Witness Interviews: You and your legal team will also need to conduct witness interviews. Coworkers may have witnessed the employee’s violation of the non-compete agreement, and clients and customers can confirm suspected violations. Before asking a customer or client to provide an affidavit, consider how your request may impact the business relationship. Your lawyer can help you balance the interests of your business with the interests of your case.
- Electronic Evidence: Another way to gather evidence is to search the employee in question’s computer. Often, employers can preserve electronic evidence by determining which files an employee accessed, transferred, printed, or deleted. If you suspect an employee is violating their non-compete agreement, preserve their emails and hard drives immediately, confiscate employer-provided equipment (like work laptops and cell phones), and remove their access to any shared computer systems or drives. These steps can also mitigate the damage of a non-compete violation.
- Enforceability: Once you have evidence of the violation, you will need to ensure your non-compete agreement is enforceable and review the state laws for enforcement. Your attorney can help you evaluate enforceability under state law.
Remember that litigation should always be the last resort. Try sending a cease-and-desist letter before initiating legal action and weigh the pros and cons of litigation before filing a claim. Preparing ahead of time will help you keep up with the fast pace of non-compete litigation. Start your preparation today with Hendershot Cowart P.C.
If you violate the terms of a legally enforceable non-compete agreement, you may face a lawsuit. Fortunately, you will also have the opportunity to defend yourself, and there are many effective defenses to non-compete violations, including:
- The language in the non-compete agreement does not specifically prohibit the conduct you are engaging in
- The non-compete agreement is not enforceable, according to state law
- You left your job due to harassment, discrimination, or illegal activities at the workplace
- Your employer is not protecting a “legitimate business purpose”
- The non-compete agreement is unreasonable in terms of time, geography, or activities
- Your employer has already breached the underlying employment agreement
- Your employer talked you into signing the non-compete agreement via fraudulent inducement
- The non-compete agreement is invalid under existing law
Non-compete agreements cannot be used to control or punish current or former employees, and employers can only enforce specific and reasonable non-compete agreements. In addition, a non-compete that promotes monopolies or keeps crucial goods and services from the public may not be enforced.
Whether you want to work for a competitor, start your own business, or otherwise make a career move that is restricted by a non-compete agreement, discuss your rights and legal options with our experienced attorneys beforehand. We can also help you defend yourself from any lawsuit your employer may file.
Because physician non-compete agreements can impact doctor-patient relationships, Texas law has special requirements above and beyond the elements of an executive non-compete agreement.
Specifically, physician non-competes must allow doctors:
- Access to a list of patients treated within the year preceding the separation from the practice
- Reasonable access, upon patient consent, to relevant medical records
- To provide for patients who need acute care even after the contract or employment has been terminated
- To buy out of their agreement, if they choose, at a reasonable price, or, upon mutual consent, for a price set by a neutral third party
At Hendershot Cowart, we represent both employers and employees in non-compete agreement disputes. When you bring us on-board for your case, we will examine the terms and conditions of the agreement. Then, we will work with you to identify the best path forward whether you are pursuing or defending a non-compete violation claim.
We also work with business owners and executives to draft legally sound and enforceable employment contracts and non-compete agreements. With any non-compete matter, our goal is to empower you with information and the benefit of our years of experience, so you can make the best decision for your business or health care practice.
At Hendershot Cowart P.C., business law and contractual matters are a cornerstone of our practice. This expertise translates to an efficient and comprehensive resolution to your non-compete agreement dispute. Our award-winning business lawyers are ready to work with you.
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