Two recent stories show why all companies should at least consider implementing non-compete agreements or other restrictive covenants.
First, here’s a link to a short interview with Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec, talking about his first company. Unbeknown to Robert, his sales manager had set up a side business, to which he funneled half of Robert’s customers. Robert only found out because another employee broke down and told him during her exit interview.
Robert finishes the interview with good advice: “The minute you hire the first employee, you have to be careful.”
We don’t know if the sales manager had signed a non-compete or non-solicitation agreement. Such an agreement could have given Robert far better legal options.
Also, Robert trusted that his employees would be loyal. While it’s obviously good to trust your employees, it’s far better to trust and also have them sign appropriate restrictive covenants.
I also read about how an assistant coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks football team left for the University of Georgia. Bret Bielema, Arkansas’ head coach, was not happy. Apparently, his recently hired coaches signed non-compete agreements that prohibited them for coaching for other SEC schools. But the coach who had left had been hired earlier, and he did not have a non-compete.
Of course, Arkansas should have had its coaches sign non-competes from the outset. And once they decided to require new coaches to sign one, they should have at least attempted to have the older coaches sign as well.
These stories show how non-compete agreements can have value across diverse industries. It’s worth speaking with an attorney to figure out whether your company can benefit from implementing restrictive covenants, or improving existing agreements.