Non-compete agreements are essential to safeguarding privileged, confidential information about a specific company. Those who sign these agreements should be careful and make sure they understand what they are agreeing to, as a violation of this agreement could cost a person future job opportunities.
However, understand that if a dispute does arise involving alleged violations of a non-compete agreement, there may be ways for business owners and individuals to resolve the matter without having to go through costly litigation.
If your non-compete agreement has an arbitration clause, any legal disputes that arise between the signing parties will go through arbitration versus litigation. There are cases where these clauses are ultimately challenged, but in most cases, parties will go through arbitration.
In some cases, negotiating a deal outside of court can be possible. For instance, a former employee at Amazon was facing a lawsuit by the company after he accepted a leadership role at another company. However, instead of going to court, the two parties were able to negotiate a resolution on their own by putting in place specific restrictions on the former employee's new role that allow him to work at the new company without jeopardizing Amazon's interests and information.
Somewhere between informal negotiations and more formal arbitration proceedings is mediation. This process requires both parties to sit down and discuss a dispute with a mediator. The mediator is a neutral party tasked with prioritizing communication and problem-solving efforts. He or she might also offer more creative solutions to certain issues and help both sides come to an agreement together.
If these measures do not work
In some scenarios, out-of-court solutions are simply not possible. The dispute could be highly contentious, making it impossible for both parties to agree to any resolutions; it could also be highly complex, making it impossible for anyone besides a judge to make a ruling. Under these circumstances, litigation can be all but unavoidable.
Whatever solution you pursue when addressing non-compete agreement enforcement and/or violations, it is critical that you have legal guidance and support as you navigate the legal system. Failure to have the help of an attorney can lead to costly mistakes, unsatisfactory results and an unnecessary strain on professional resources.