When a worker first enters a particular industry, he or she often faces the prospect of having to agree to unfavorable employment terms in order to get their foot in the door to a particular position or company. Like most entry-level experiences, being the lowest rung on the professional ladder means having the least amount of clout to dictate the terms of your employment.
Unfortunately, many workers sign contracts they do not understand because they feel they have no choice in the matter if they want a job. This particularly true of non-disclosure agreements and non-compete clauses.
In general, many companies who might ask you to sign either of these types of documents craft the terms to wildly favor the company, often well beyond the boundaries of the law. It is important to understand that the contracts a company provides employees are not necessarily legally sound or even prepared by someone with legal training.
If you are presented with an NDA or non-compete contract, you should examine it very carefully. If the terms seem vague and intentionally written as broadly as possible, signing such an agreement without first discussing it with an attorney could create a host of issues for your career later.
If there is any silver lining to these kinds of contracts, it is that the same vague, open-ended phrasing that may cause you trouble later is also something that weakens the overall enforceability of the contract in general. Often, a company may attempt to enforce an unfair agreement only to find that no court will honor it.
If you find yourself asked to sign one of these agreements, take the opportunity to have an experienced attorney review it. You may find that you can negotiate better, more clearly defined terms that will help protectin your future rights and freedoms as you progress forward in your chosen profession.
Source: Medium.com, “On NDA’s and vague Non-Compete Agreements as a Junior Employee,” Nick Arner, accessed Aug. 18, 2017