Don’t sign the non-compete.... until you review it with a lawyer.
I heard a heart breaking story last week of a high achieving job seeker who got an offer from an industry competitor. When asked if she had a non-compete by the recruiter, she responded no because she couldn’t remember signing one. She even asked a peer at her company who confirmed her memory.
Here’s the problem- during her orientation week when she started her first job, she signed a bunch of new hire papers. Including a non-compete. Because the non-compete was thrown in with the rest of the first day paperwork, she didn’t read it or even remember signing it. Her company rolled out non-competes for new hires shortly before she started so her peer who started a few months before wasn’t asked to sign one. Now she in a huge bind because she gave notice & found out after the fact that her company will try to enforce.
Non-competes are only growing in popularity. 20% of American workers are currently bound by these agreements, including 14% of workers earning less than $40,000 per year, according to a study by University of Michigan. According to the US Treasury, 37% of workers are asked to sign a non-compete AFTER they’ve signed a job offer. Ask in the interview if this is a practice.
Check out my original post on LinkedIn for a really rich discussion including legal industry experts. Thoughts?