In the contemporary veterinary space, it is becoming increasingly common for practices to require employees to sign non-compete agreements as a condition of employment. While the use of non-compete agreements by veterinarians is justifiable to protect the practice’s confidential information, such documents must be properly structured to avoid potential liabilities. The best way to protect your interests is to consult with an experienced veterinary practice litigation lawyer.
Mahan Law regularly advises veterinary practices on a wide range of employment agreements, including non-competes. As the owner of a veterinary clinic, founding attorney Anthony Mahan is well-aware of the need to protect confidential business and client (patient) information. By collaborating with counsel nationwide, we design enforceable non-compete agreements for veterinarians across the country. When you become our client, our veterinary lawyers will work closely with you to protect your interests.
What Is A Non-Compete Agreement?
A non-compete agreement can be a stand-alone agreement or included as a provision of an employment agreement; essentially, it prohibits a veterinary employee from working for a practice’s competitors. Generally, non-compete provisions must be limited to a specific geographic area and a limited period of time after the employment relationship ends, typically ranging from 6 months to 2 years.
In addition, the employee agrees not to start a practice that competes with the employer’s practice or to use the employer’s client list for future business. While a veterinary employee cannot be compelled to sign a non-compete agreement, it is usually a condition of being hired by, or continuing to work for, a veterinary practice.
Ultimately, a well-conceived non-compete agreement will protect a veterinary practice from being exploited by a former employee. A non-compete agreement must not be overly restrictive in terms of time and geographical area, however, because it may then be deemed unenforceable by the courts.
For this reason, it is crucial to consult with an experienced veterinary lawyer with experience in drafting non-compete provisions and agreements. At Mahan Law, our legal team is highly regarded for providing veterinarians with informed representation and designing well-thought-out employment agreements.
When Are Non-Compete Agreements Enforceable?
Generally, for a non-compete agreement to be considered enforceable by the courts, the agreement must be reasonable regarding the time period and geographical area covered, though the term “reasonable” is subject to the case law in the state in which your practice operates.
In addition, the veterinary practice must have a legitimate interest to protect, such as confidential business and client information. Finally, a non-compete agreement must not be overly broad or perceived as punishing the veterinary employee because then the court may refuse to enforce it.
By working with Mahan Law, you benefit from working with veterinary lawyers who are familiar with local and state law and up-to-date with the latest court rulings. Above all, we know how to structure non-compete agreements that comply with applicable laws and protect your practice’s confidential information.
What Happens If Former Veterinary Employees Violate Non-Compete Agreements?
If a former employee takes a position with a competitor in violation of a non-compete agreement, an experienced veterinary lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf against both the employee and the other veterinary practice. Depending on the circumstances, the court may enforce the agreement by issuing an injunction or restraining order preventing the employee from working with that veterinary practice.
An experienced veterinary lawyer can also help you recover damages for any losses related to the employee’s violation of the non-compete agreement, such as lost profits from customers or the loss of confidential practice information. It is important to note that the courts will not generally enforce a non-compete agreement when an employee is involuntarily terminated.
Why Choose Mahan Law
If your veterinary practice intends to utilize non-compete agreements, you need the informed representation that Mahan Law provides. We have the skills and experience to draw up non-compete agreements that are not overly restrictive and that protect the interests of veterinary practice owners.
Additionally, if you have been asked to sign a non-compete agreement as a condition of employment with a veterinary practice, we will review it to make sure that it is not overly restrictive and work to reach terms more favorable to you if necessary.
Contact Our Experienced Veterinary Lawyers for Help with Non-Compete Agreements
The use of employment agreements by veterinary practices is a wise move that can help to protect their interests. When it comes to non-compete provisions, it is crucial to work with a veterinary attorney who knows how to balance the interests of veterinarians and employees alike. At Mahan Law, we have a well-deserved reputation as dedicated advocates of veterinary professionals. Please contact our office today to set up a consultation.