Non-solicitation agreements are restrictions on your rights to contact or do business with certain individuals and businesses. They can be included in your employment contract, employee handbook, severance package or another document. Although non-compete agreements seem to get more attention, in both New York and New Jersey, non-solicitation clauses are common and can impose significant limitations on you in the future.
While they come in many different forms there are two primary types of non-solicitation clauses: ones that limit your right to hire employees and ones that limit your right to do business with customers.Limits on Your Right to Hire Employees
One of the most common types of non-solicitation clauses restricts your right to hire employees of your current company after you leave. In other words, they are “anti-poaching” provisions that prevent you from hiring your former coworkers, colleagues or support staff after you leave your job.Limits on Your Right to do Business with Customers
Another common form of restriction prevents you from soliciting or doing business with any of your current customers or clients, or in some instances any of your current employer’s customers or clients, after you leave the job. These provisions often are broad enough that they effectively prohibit you from competing with your current employer. At the very least they can severely limit what you can do for your next employer.Other Limits On Your Rights
There are many other limitations which non-solicitation agreements can impose, such as limiting your ability to do business with vendors, suppliers, partners, affiliates or other individuals or companies that have a business relationship or other association with your former employer. If they are worded too broadly these limitations can severely limit or even prevent you from performing your next job effectively.Limitations During Your Employment
Although non-solicitation agreements generally focus on what you can or cannot do after you leave your current job, they also can restrict you while you are working for your current employer. For example, they can limit your ability to prepare to join another company or open a competing business.
Likewise, the duty of loyalty imposes similar limitations while you are working for your current employer. The duty of loyalty automatically applies to every job in New Jersey or New York, whether or not you have a written employment contract or have entered into a non-solicitation agreement or another restrictive covenant.Helping You Understand and Negotiate a Restrictive Covenant
Whether you have already signed a contract that includes a non-solicitation clause or are being asked to sign one, our employment law and business attorneys can review it, help you understand it, and explain how it limits your rights. Our lawyers also can help identify opportunities to revise or amend your agreement by reducing its scope, clarifying its terms or otherwise making it less onerous.
If you have questions about your New York or New Jersey non-solicitation clause or another restrictive covenant we welcome you to contact us online or to call us at (973) 744-4000 to schedule a consultation with one of our employment law attorneys.