The Situation In Which A Non-Competition Agreement Is Introduced When You Are Already Employed

A situation may arise where you are already employed, but new management or new policies require you to sign a non-competition agreement.

You have no legal obligation to sign a non-competition or restrictive covenant once you already have that employment. However, if an employer offers additional consideration, for instance, an extra week of vacation or a signing bonus in exchange for you agreeing to a non-competition agreement, you can be forced into a situation in which you feel you must sign one. If you refuse to sign it, an employer can decide not to continue your employment. That wouldn’t constitute cause for termination, but from a practical point of view it may mean that the employer provides you with notice either in the form of a lump-sum payment or working notice or some combination of both and you find yourself without work.

In such a situation, you need to negotiate the terms of the non-competition agreement. If an organization is intent on having you sign a non-competition agreement, then what you should be focusing on is negotiating something that you’d be willing to abide by in the event of termination. I tend to focus on making sure that the non-competition agreement does not extend beyond a reasonable period of time, that it doesn’t restrict you from working in areas that it shouldn’t prohibit you from working in, and that that you are compensated for the period that you’re asked not to compete against the employer.

If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with employment law issues in the Ottawa, Ontario Region, contact Law Office of Melynda Layton.

This article is taken from an interview with Melynda Layton, Employment Lawyer at Law Office of Melynda Layton , an Ottawa, Ontario Employment Law Firm. Note that laws vary from province to province. Please consult with a lawyer in your own area to be sure of the laws and specific issues in your own jurisdiction.