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I'm Attorney Robert Wood. I have handled matters involving Texas non-compete agreements for nearly 30 years. I use this blog to help employers and workers understand the complexities surrounding the enforcement of non-competes. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to shoot me a message or give me a call at 469-754-2812.

Labor Laws Texas. Texas Non Compete Agreements: Other Common Provisions

October 3, 2006 / By Robert Wood

Texas non-compete agreements often contain various other provisions, including the following:
Choice of Law.  Non-compete agreements typically will specify which state’s law will decide whether, and the extent to which, a non-compete agreement is enforceable. Even in cases in which the parties have agreed that the law of a state other than Texas will apply, the court will determine which state "has the most significant relationship to the transaction and the parties," and it will apply that state’s law.  Usually, if the employee to be bound by the non-compete agreement is working primarily in Texas, Texas law will apply.
Venue. Covenants not to compete sometimes contain provisions specifying the venue (e.g., the state and federal courts of Dallas County, Texas) of any action to enforce the covenant. These are generally enforceable. However, a provision making a state other than Texas the venue may not be enforceable if Texas law governs the non-compete agreement and it is shown that the
foreign state likely would not apply Texas law.
Arbitration.  Employment agreements, and other agreements containing non-compete provisions, often mandate that any dispute be submitted to binding arbitration rather than court. From the employer’s perspective, it is imperative that the arbitration provision permit the employer to seek injunctive relief (including a temporary restraining order or temporary injunction) in
court to prevent a non-compete violation (or disclosure of confidential, proprietary, or trade secret information). To prevent a former employee from violating non-compete or non-disclosure provisions, or from stealing trade secrets, an employer may require more immediate injunctive relief than could be obtained in arbitration. Employers must also be mindful that, to prove a non-compete violation (or theft of trade secrets), they may need more discovery than is typically permitted in arbitration (and they may want to provide for discovery, including expedited discovery, in their employment contracts).
Clawback Provisions.  In some cases, the agreement in which the covenant not to compete is contained will state that the employee, in the event he violates the non-compete provision, must return the consideration given by the employer. This might occur, for example, where the employer gives company stock in exchange for the covenant. Provisions requiring the return of the consideration are enforceable if the court finds that the employer would not have given the consideration "but for" the employee’s promise not to compete (in which case the promises are said to be "dependent" upon each other).


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About the Author

Robert Wood has been a Texas trial lawyer since 1993. During that time, he has represented small, mid-sized, and Fortune 100 companies in business and employment litigation matters all over Texas and the United States. He has also advised and represented hundreds of individuals in employment litigation matters. Read more about Robert Wood