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How can Texas employers enforce noncompete agreements?

Texas employers sometimes require that employees sign non-compete agreements. Non-compete or non-competition agreements are a type of restrictive covenant that can theoretically prevent an employee from taking a job with a competing business or starting a competing company after leaving their current job.

Currently, both Texas and federal employment laws theoretically permit the enforcement of non-compete agreements in certain scenarios. Employers can take legal action against former employees who violate their agreement with the company by working for a competitor or starting their own business. How can a business alleging a non-compete violation enforce a worker’s employment contract?

The process usually begins with a letter

When a worker first hears about non-compete agreement enforcement, that information usually arrives in the form of a cease-and-desist notice from their former employer. Organizations with proof that a worker has violated a non-compete agreement often notify the worker that their current employment or entrepreneurial endeavors are a violation of the contract that they signed.

Typically, such notice includes a description of the inappropriate economic activity and a reference to the original contract. Cease-and-desist letters typically demand that one party end certain behavior or face legal consequences. In a non-compete scenario, the company might demand the dissolution of a business or the end of an inappropriate employment arrangement.

The company can take the issue to court

Sometimes, individuals sent a cease and desist letter recognize that they did violate an agreement and decide to pursue a different job or close down their business to prevent litigation. Other times, they believe that the agreement was inappropriate or maintain that the business misinterprets their current circumstances.

They may continue in the same economic activity, and their employer may then initiate a lawsuit. Contract litigation can be complex. A Texas judge has to consider the original agreement and the current circumstances to determine if the contract was valid and if the worker actually breached their agreement with the employer.

There are many strict rules that apply to non-compete agreements in Texas, and a violation of any of them could potentially make it impossible to enforce the agreement later. As such, those embroiled in a dispute related to a non-compete agreement may need to review the original contract carefully with the assistance of a skilled legal team as they decide how to proceed.