Non-Solicitation Agreement in Washington State: What You Need to Know
In Washington State, non-solicitation agreements are commonly used in employment contracts to restrict employees from soliciting the employer`s clients or employees after leaving the company. If you are an employer in Washington State, or an employee considering signing a non-solicitation agreement, it is important to understand the key aspects of these agreements.
What is a Non-Solicitation Agreement?
A non-solicitation agreement, sometimes referred to as a non-compete agreement, is a contract between an employer and an employee that limits the employee`s ability to solicit the employer`s clients or employees for a certain period of time after leaving the company. The purpose of the agreement is to protect the employer`s investment in its relationships with clients and employees, and to prevent employees from competing with the employer after their departure.
Enforceability of Non-Solicitation Agreements in Washington State
In Washington State, non-solicitation agreements are generally enforceable as long as they are reasonable in scope and duration. However, the courts have established several key factors that must be considered when determining the reasonableness of a non-solicitation agreement.
Some of the factors that may be considered include:
– The employer`s legitimate business interests that the agreement is designed to protect.
– The scope and duration of the restriction on solicitation.
– The employee`s ability to earn a livelihood in their field after leaving the company.
– The impact of the agreement on the public`s right to access the employee`s services.
It is important to note that Washington State does not permit non-compete agreements that are overly broad or restrictive, and courts are reluctant to enforce agreements that would prevent an employee from working in their chosen field.
Best Practices for Employers
If you are an employer in Washington State considering using a non-solicitation agreement, there are several best practices to follow to ensure that your agreement is enforceable:
– Limit the scope of the restriction to reasonably protect your legitimate business interests.
– Specify a reasonable duration for the restriction based on the nature of your business and the employee`s role.
– Consider offering additional compensation or benefits to the employee in exchange for signing the agreement.
– Clearly define the terms of the agreement and ensure that the employee fully understands the agreement before signing.
Best Practices for Employees
If you are an employee in Washington State asked to sign a non-solicitation agreement, there are several best practices to follow:
– Carefully review the terms of the agreement and seek legal advice if necessary.
– Negotiate the terms of the agreement to ensure that it is reasonable and does not overly restrict your ability to earn a livelihood.
– Consider the potential impact of the agreement on your future career prospects before signing.
In conclusion, non-solicitation agreements can be an effective tool for employers in Washington State to protect their relationships with clients and employees. However, it is important to ensure that the agreement is reasonable in scope and duration, and that both parties fully understand the terms of the agreement before signing. As with any legal agreement, it is always advisable to seek the advice of an experienced attorney before signing.