Before hiring new employees, a business owner may wish to consider the state laws regarding employment contracts. As noted by Inc.com, Oklahoma does not permit non-compete agreements. This may also cause any relevant non-compete language included in an employment contract to become unenforceable.
Non-compete provisions prevent former employees from working for a company’s competitor. They may specify, for example, how long an employee must wait after his or her employment ends before applying for a job with a competing business.
Certain circumstances may enable a non-compete legal action
If a business requires a new employee to sign a non-compete agreement, an Oklahoma court may not enforce it. As described on the Oklahoma Bar Association’s website, however, a judge may enforce an employer’s related claim under certain circumstances.
A company may, for example, file a legal action against a former employee who solicits its previously established customers. If an individual quits and starts a new business, actively pursuing a former employer’s customers and diverting them away may provide legal grounds to seek damages.
Oklahoma permits non-disclosure agreements
Unlike non-compete restrictions, Oklahoma permits employers to request new hires to sign non-disclosure agreements. As noted by Entrepreneur.com, a non-disclosure agreement may prevent employees with access to confidential or proprietary information from sharing it outside of the company.
Under certain circumstances and as described by the National Whistleblower Center, an employer may unlawfully misuse a non-disclosure agreement. The agreement may not, for example, serve to prohibit or dissuade employees from reporting illicit conduct to the authorities.
By creating an effective employment contract, an Oklahoma company may recruit and retain talented personnel. A well-crafted employment agreement may also enable a company to legally protect its trade secrets and competitive edge.