Texas businesses routinely use non-compete agreements to protect proprietary information in a variety of industries and occupations.  Assuming an employee has executed an enforceable non-compete agreement, what else should Texas employers be doing to enforce these agreements?

To begin with assume a situation where the employee is or has departed.  As part of any exit interview they should be reminded of, provided with, or even asked to acknowledge that they previously signed a non-compete agreement.  This sets the tone from day one of the departure – the company is poised and will likely enforce the agreement.

In the event the employee quits and there is no exit interview, immediately provide them with a reminder letter and provide the agreement.  Use mail, email, delivery or whatever means is appropriate.  The point is to re-notice them.

Make sure the employee has returned all proprietary information (that should be in an employment agreement) and can no longer access company files or email.

Now the hard part – uniformly enforce the non-compete.  If the employee is violating a non-compete, enforce the non-compete. Why?  First of all an ex-employee that is considering competing might reconsider if they know they are going to be sued.  Second, it is very effective for a lawyer to be able to represent to a Judge that the company uniformly enforces the non-compete agreement and takes it seriously.

Yest it can be expensive.  But, if the company has something worth protecting enforcement is an easy decision.