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Noncompete agreements: sometimes of paramount importance

Here's a business-related scenario that unquestionably keeps a legion of company principals across myriad industries in New York and elsewhere awake at night.

To wit: A long-tenured and valuable employee with close access to key company information -- including business plans, proprietary processes and intellectual property -- has just given notice to quit and voiced an intent to join up with your most ardent business rival.

As an executive, should you be concerned?

Of course you should. That individual, who has long been a notable asset for you, will now just as likely be a major contributor to a strong competitor -- and largely because of the skills and knowledge he or she honed while under your wing.

Can you take timely and purposeful steps to guard against actions that your departing employee might take in the future -- and perhaps commencing on day 1 of a new job placement -- that can materially and adversely affect the bottom line for your business? If that ex-worker seeks to transfer critically important information learned while performing in your enterprise or otherwise intends to exploit a new opportunity by exercising singular skills and knowledge previously cultivated, can you effectively stop such behavior?

In a word, maybe.

Candidly, that largely depends upon whether you took timely action prior to hiring that worker or at an appropriate juncture during his or her employment to address reasonable limitations regarding post-termination work to be engaged in with another employer.

Centrally, a timely, well-considered and appropriately balanced noncompete agreement can go far toward protecting an employer's interests in the event that a key worker commences work with a business rival or intends to directly compete against you.

The proven business lawyers at Rich Michaelson Magaliff Moser, LLP, routinely work with diverse businesses across New York that seek to protect trade secrets and other important information from disclosure.

A noncompete agreement can be an invaluable tool for achieving that goal. We will take a closer look at this legal tool in our next blog post.

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