Non-Solicitation Agreements in Oregon: What You Need to Know
As a business owner or employer in Oregon, protecting your company’s trade secrets and confidential information is crucial. One way to do this is by having your employees sign non-solicitation agreements. These agreements prevent employees from soliciting clients or customers away from your business for a certain period of time after leaving your company.
However, non-solicitation agreements are not always enforceable in Oregon. In this article, we will discuss the legal framework surrounding non-solicitation agreements in Oregon and what employers need to know.
Oregon Law on Non-Solicitation Agreements
Oregon has specific laws regulating non-solicitation agreements. In general, Oregon courts will only enforce non-solicitation agreements that are reasonable in scope and duration. This means that the agreement must not place undue hardship on the employee and must be necessary to protect the employer’s legitimate business interests.
Under Oregon law, non-solicitation agreements must meet the following requirements to be enforceable:
1. They must be in writing and signed by both parties.
2. They must be supported by consideration, such as a job offer or a promotion.
3. They must be reasonable in scope and duration, meaning they should only prohibit solicitation of clients or customers with whom the employee has had contact during their employment and for a reasonable time period.
4. They must not be contrary to public policy.
What Makes a Non-Solicitation Agreement Unenforceable in Oregon?
Non-solicitation agreements in Oregon can be rendered unenforceable if they are overly broad or vague. This means that if the agreement does not clearly define the clients or customers that the employee is prohibited from soliciting, or if the restriction period is too long, the courts may not enforce the agreement.
It’s also important to note that non-solicitation agreements cannot be used to prevent an employee from earning a living after leaving your company. In Oregon, non-compete agreements are generally unenforceable, meaning that employees are free to work for a competitor after leaving your business.
Enforcing Non-Solicitation Agreements in Oregon
If an employer wishes to enforce a non-solicitation agreement, they must file a lawsuit in Oregon state court. The court will determine whether the agreement is reasonable in scope and duration and whether it is necessary to protect the employer’s legitimate business interests.
It’s worth noting that enforcement of non-solicitation agreements in Oregon can be difficult and expensive, and there is no guarantee that the court will find the agreement enforceable. Therefore, it’s important for employers to carefully consider whether a non-solicitation agreement is necessary and reasonable before requiring employees to sign one.
Non-solicitation agreements can be a useful tool for employers to protect their legitimate business interests in Oregon. However, they must be carefully crafted to ensure that they are reasonable in scope and duration and do not unduly restrict an employee’s ability to earn a living. Employers should consult with legal counsel to ensure that any non-solicitation agreement they require employees to sign is enforceable under Oregon law.