Non-Solicitation Clause

A clause found in many contracts and non-disclosure agreements prohibiting one party from seeking (soliciting) to hire the other’s employees, or in some instances from hiring an employee who approaches that party for a period of time.

Although the latter type of clause is justified on the basis that who initiated the hiring process may be difficult to identify, such no-hire clauses may be legally suspect in some jurisdictions, especially if they render employees unemployable in their professions within their own community (i.e., an area defined by reasonable commuting distance) or serve to depress pay and benefits within an industry. In addition such clauses should usually be reasonably limited in time and not perpetual or so long as to make them effectively perpetual; typically lawyers will advise no longer than three years and often less. Non solicitation agreements may also have to include a number of exceptions, for example where an employee of the first employer voluntarily and without encouragement seeks employment at the second.

The best advice is not to make such provisions broader than they objectively need to be. Some jurisdictions, regarding such clauses as unfair to an employee who was not a party to the agreement, may also require the employer invoking such a clause to compensate the employee (even if employee has already left) for any financial consequences. It is also difficult to enforce such a clause if the employee was dismissed (fired) by the first employer, before the clause was invoked.

See Non-Compete Agreement, Gardening Leave, Non-Disclosure Agreement

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