What Happens if You Break a Non-Compete Agreement?

What Happens If I Break a Non-Compete Agreement?

Depending on your line of work, your employer may have asked you to sign a non-compete agreement when you joined the company. Most often, these agreements are included as a clause in your employment contract.

Prior to signing, we encourage you to seek the advice of an attorney to protect your rights. But what happens if you have already signed, and you need to get out of a non-compete agreement?

On This Page:

Not every non-compete agreement is created equal. To learn more about the enforceability of non-compete agreements in Texas and the options available to you, call (713) 909-7323 today.

What Happens If I Break a Non-Compete Agreement in Texas?

If you violate the terms of a legally enforceable non-compete agreement, your employee may ask the courts for an injunction to stop improper competitive activity and pursue actions (such as a lawsuit) to recover financial damages. The consequences may even be outlined in your non-compete clause. There are available defenses, however, as described below.

Can I Get Out of a Non-Compete Agreement?

A fair, enforceable non-compete protects all parties involved. However, if you violated – or plan to violate – what you consider to be an overly burdensome non-compete agreement, seek the advice of a non-compete agreement attorney immediately. Our business and contract law team has decades of experience defending clients against non-compete violation claims. We are available to discuss your situation, available defenses, and how we can help you proceed.

Although every non-compete agreement and employer are different, you may be able to raise one of the following defenses:

  • Employer breach of contract;
  • Overly-broad scope of restrictions; or
  • Illegitimate business interests.

Is a Non-Compete Agreement Enforceable in Texas?

Yes, non-compete agreements are legally-binding and enforceable in Texas, though there are restrictions.

To be enforceable in Texas, a non-compete agreement must:

  • Be ancillary to an otherwise enforceable agreement (such as an employment contract)
  • Be reasonable in scope of activity
  • Be reasonable in geographic area
  • Be reasonable in duration / time period

If a court deems any of these elements to be broader than necessary to protect the interests of the business, the court can reform or nullify the agreement. An attorney experienced with drafting, negotiating and litigating non-compete and other business agreements can advise you on reasonable limitations for your specific industry and identify which elements can be challenged should you seek to get out of a non-compete agreement.

Read about recent developments on non-compete agreements at the federal level.

What Is a Non-Compete Agreement?

A non-compete agreement (also known as restrictive covenant or covenant not to compete) is generally a clause in an employment contract that stipulates how or when an employee can conduct business after leaving an employer. A non-compete agreement often means that your employer has designated that you can't start a competing business or work for a competitor. Employers add these to employee contracts because they don't want an employee to train and learn from them and then turn around and use that knowledge to compete against them. It helps to protect the rights and privacy of the business to avoid financial harm.

The scope of a non-compete agreement will depend on your employer. They will put in their own rules and requirements, so make sure to read it over before you sign it.

If you are unsure about the legalities of your non-compete agreement, our Houston business litigation firm is here to help. Call us today at (713) 909-7323 or contact us online.

Why Choose Our Team? Unwavering Commitment to the Success of our Clients
  • We Shoulder the Legal Burden.™
    And let you get back to business.
  • We Want to Be Your Law Firm for Life.
    We take a vested interest in our clients' success – from start to finish.
  • We Believe in Prompt, Personal Attention.
    As a boutique law firm, we unite real experience with personal attention.
  • We Serve Clients Throughout Texas and the Nation.
    We handle matters from the Red River to the Rio Grande and beyond.
  • In Business Since 1987.
    Let us put the full force of our 100+ years of combined experience to work for you.

What Our Clients Say

  • “These folks represented me well and Ray was awesome. Ray was extremely easy to communicate with and was easy to get ahold of Ray also made himself available when I had questions or needed clarification on things. 10/10 would recommend.”
  • “Philip has been nothing short of amazing! He genuinely cares about his clients and is very accessible, a quality that is rare to find in other lawyers. He is meticulous and efficient, which are great qualities to have. I cannot recommend him enough.”
  • “Ian McNeill is a fantastic lawyer and a great person. I had the pleasure of working with him closely on a high level PSM OSHA project, and our company's top leadership group was very impressed with the outcome of the project.”
  • “Great communication and extremely knowledgeable team.”
  • “The Hendershot Cowart Law Firm has been and will continue to be part of our legal team. They provide the utmost professional services towards our South Texas medical practice. Trey Hendershot and Keith Lefkowitz are very receptive, skilled and amazing...”
  • “My business partner and I had a very complex time sensitive situation with a breach of a contract on a real-estate transaction. We hired Ky Jurgensen to help with the case and he took action immediately, same day we called he went to work.”

We Are On Your Side

Schedule Your Initial Consultation
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please enter a message.