What if the Severance Agreement Asks Me to Reaffirm a Non-Compete?
The Importance of Understanding Your Non Compete Before Signing a Severance Agreement
If you signed a non compete at the beginning of your employment, you may see language in your severance agreement stating that you re-affirm and/or acknowledge your obligations under that prior non compete.
On the one hand, you are simply acknowledging a prior agreement that is already binding on you whether or not you sign the severance agreement.
On the other hand, the laws about enforcing non competes are complex and ever-changing, and there is a possibility that by signing this "re-affirmation" you will be eliminating some defenses you otherwise may have had to the non compete.
For example, there are some cases that say a material change in role or compensation while you are employed can nullify a non compete signed at the beginning of employment, on the theory that you should have been given a new agreement to sign when your job changed. Re-affirming the agreement at the end of your employment could take that defense away from you, depending on the circumstances.
This may or may not be a reason for you to decline the severance, but it is a good idea to get advice from an employment lawyer experienced in non compete law so that you understand what you are and are not giving up by agreeing to this language.
Learn more here about evaluating a severance agreement.
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