On this manner, the Biden administration may make it simpler for extra individuals to get employed

Starting a new job often means signing a shipload of paperwork. Firstly, personal data such as your address and the like must be given. You will typically then provide bank account information so your payroll department can set up check deposits.

However, your employer can also require you to sign employment contracts. And if that pile of documents contains a non-compete clause, you can get into a world of trouble.

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What is a non-compete clause?

A non-compete clause is a legal agreement between a company and an employee. It prevents employees from working for a competitor within a certain period of time after leaving.

For example, suppose you work for a marketing firm that services dentists. Your non-compete clause may prevent you from working for another dental marketing company for six months after you break up with your employer. Or this agreement can be broader and prohibit you from working for a marketing company within those six months. It’s easy to see why an employer might ask you to sign a non-compete agreement, but the problem is that if you quit your job they will limit your employment opportunities.

In fact, a lot of people sign non-compete agreements without knowing what they’re getting into. That is why the Biden administration wants to crack down on non-compete obligations. And that could make it easier for many people to advance their careers and pursue job opportunities.

Getting rid of a major barrier

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cites polls that show that 16 to 18% of US workers are non-compete. And 30 to 40% of these workers are asked to sign a non-compete agreement immediately after accepting a job offer – sometimes on the first day of work. If you’re placed in this position, you could be able to sign a non-compete agreement before you’ve even had a chance to set up your desk, let alone find out if your new job is a good fit for you.

Now the Biden government is calling on the FTC to draft a rule to curb the unfair use of non-compete clauses that limit workers’ options. And if it goes through, many workers – especially in specialized areas – have a lot less to worry about.

So what should you do when you’ve signed a non-compete agreement and it is preventing you from getting the kind of job you want? It is best to contact an employment law attorney.

Some non-compete agreements are more enforceable than others. Going back to our example above, if you are in dental marketing, a non-compete agreement that prevents you from working for another dental marketing company will likely hold up much better than an agreement that prohibits you from working in marketing altogether. Broader non-compete agreements are generally more difficult to enforce, but it pays to hire a professional to review the contract you signed and walk you through your options.

In the meantime, if you start a new job and are asked to sign a non-compete agreement, know that you have the right to say no, or at least ask to have that contract performed by a lawyer. A lawyer may be able to help you negotiate your non-compete agreement so it is less restrictive and less likely to prevent you from getting a new job when you are ready.

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