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Employment Law: Non-Compete & Trade Secret Agreements

Recently Mr. Grumet has also been counsel in numerous matters pertaining to disputes between employers and employers/independent contractors and the scope and enforceability of what are commonly known as "covenants not to compete" or "non-compete agreements" (also called "non-solicitation agreements" and "restrictive covenants"). These are agreements in which an employer seeks to limit an employee's [or former employee's] right to work for another entity in the same or similar industry after leaving the employ of the [then] former employer.

Georgia has a notorious history for having a very convoluted statutory scheme governing such agreements, and the caselaw has been even more complicated, ambiguous and inconsistent. In response to this and in an effort to try to simplify/homogenize the conflict in the caselaw interpretations as well as with a view towards being more attractive to corporations that might be considering doing business in the state, in 2010 Georgia voters approved an amendment to the state's Constitution which, among other things, clarified the previously ambiguous law on the judicial practice known as "blue penciling", which basically allows a judge to review an employment non-compete agreement that would have otherwise been completely unenforceable due to an employer's overly-broad restrictions, and tailor it more narrowly by striking out the unenforceable/overly-broad provisions and leave the remaining prohibitions intact. See, e.g., O.C.G.A. § 13-8-50, et seq.

Mr. Grumet has also been involved in disputes over employment contract terms governing trade secrets and other confidential information, such as customer lists, etc., which often arise in the same context of disputes about non-compete agreements. However, Mr. Grumet is by no means an expert, nor does he specialize in, employment law in general. Rather, the scope of his employment law practice is narrowly focused on these two specific kinds of employment agreements.


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