Non-Competition Agreements and Trade Secrets

The state of Louisiana has a strong public policy against any agreement that unlawfully restrains workers from “exercising a lawful profession, trade, or business,” and Louisiana law places very strict limits on non-competition agreements and non-solicitation agreements.  While a carefully crafted and suitably narrow agreement is generally enforceable, courts will not hesitate to strike down any non-compete agreements that are overbroad as to time or place.  Many companies take do-it-yourself approach to drafting non-competition or confidentiality agreements, but agreements drafted by a layperson often fall short of complying with Louisiana law.

In Louisiana, courts will only enforce non-competition agreements that are specifically limited to the parishes or municipalities where the employee actually worked, have a duration of no more than two years, and only apply to businesses that directly compete with the former employer.  Non-competition agreements that do not follow these strict rules – even in a seemingly minor way – will often be held unenforceable.  Employers may also enforce non-solicitation agreements preventing former employees from enticing their co-workers or customers to join them at their new place of work.  These agreements, like non-competition agreements, must be carefully drafted by an experienced attorney in order to ensure that they are enforceable.

Many employers are concerned about employee theft of trade secrets or confidential company information for their own purposes.  They may require workers to sign confidentiality agreements to prevent them from taking this information with them when they leave.  The Louisiana Uniform Trade Secrets Act and the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act both state that certain types of confidential business information can protected even if there is no confidentiality agreement.  However, what constitutes truly “confidential” information is often hotly contested and, again, employers often overreach.

Call New Orleans employment Charles Stiegler today at (504) 267-0777 or email me through the contact us page if you have any questions regarding the interpretation or enforcement of non-competition agreements, non-solicitation agreements, or are facing a dispute regarding an alleged theft of trade secrets.