Ridout Barron


How effective are non-solicitation clauses?

Employees in Alberta with exceptional skills are often the subjects of poaching. However, would such a worker be allowed to accept an irresistible offer from his or her employer's opposition? Many business owners identify high-value employees with specialized skills and have them sign non-solicitation clauses to prevent losing valuable clients to an opposing company in the same market.

The need for ever-better technological skills makes staff poaching a popular method of obtaining expertise without having to lay out finances for training and skills development. However, there is a difference between poaching and solicitation. While both are becoming par for the course in almost all employee contracts, it is the non-solicitation clauses that stand up better in court. These are agreements that prohibit employees from soliciting clients after leaving one firm and taking on a job at an opposition company.

Staff poaching and solicitation clauses typically form part of employment contracts and agreements with staff in sales, technology and other specialized positions. However, competition in Alberta's free-enterprise society is encouraged because it promotes progressive development and growth. No employee should be restricted from taking a job that will provide a higher income, but that step should not jeopardize the former employer's success.

Business owners who face severe losses due to former employees' violation of non-solicitation clauses can benefit from consulting with an experienced employment law lawyer before proceeding with legal action. A lawyer can answer questions and explain the intricacies of Alberta labour law. The lawyer can assess the circumstances of both parties and work on finding effective resolutions. However, if litigation is the only option, legal counsel will provide the necessary support and guidance throughout the ensuing legal proceedings.

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Ridout Barron
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