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Contract Disputes: Can non-compete agreements be unenforceable?

Many Texas employees who will have exposure to trade secrets and proprietary information may be expected to sign a non-compete agreement, but just because a contract is signed may not mean that is legally enforceable. Contract disputes can occur when the information contained in the agreement is too vague or too constricting, which can cause problems for the exiting employees later on. An out of state man claims that the agreement he signed should not stand up in court. He, as well as his current employer, have filed a lawsuit against his former employer in a federal court.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff was required to sign an agreement to protect company information. This was a non-compete, non-solicitation, non-disclosure agreement. However, the plaintiff asserts that he has no idea if the other party ever signed the document. Additionally, he claims he never even received a completed copy of the final agreement.

Inside the document, the plaintiff alleges that the information was very vague and did not go into specifics about the duties he could not perform nor the specific locations that were off limits, or even the duration of the agreement. The man eventually quit the company after he could not properly support a client due to his former employer's alleged incompetence. Furthermore, he claims that the only reason that the company ever hired him was to use him for his client list.

The plaintiffs are seeking that the non-compete agreement be nullified, as well as monetary damages and a jury trial. Before signing any type of agreements, Texas individuals should have the agreement reviewed by an employment law attorney to make sure that the best interests of both parties are represented. Having these documents reviewed before they are signed can lessen the chances of contract disputes in the future.

Source:, "Former employee of Hempel Inc. claims that non-compete agreement is invalid", Hoang Tran, Feb. 15, 2016

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