ost right of way service firms, big or small, wisely use written employment
agreements with their staff members. The agreements spell out details regarding
such things as work expectations, compensation, work place rules and
confidentiality protocols; they also often contain some type of non-compete clause.
As a general matter, the purpose of a non-compete clause is to prohibit an employee from
competing against their employer after the employee ceases work. A right of way firm may
utilize a non-compete clause because they are understandably concerned about protecting the
firm from future competition by a staff member, especially after the firm has spent time and
money educating and developing the employee and exposed that employee to the firm’s clients.
Other times, however, the purpose behind a clause may simply be to stifle any competition at all.
Whether you are an employee, contractor or owner of a right of way firm, it’s important to
have a basic understanding of the limitations and problems relating to such provisions. They
are, indeed, one of the most frequent sources of litigation between firms and their former
Exploring the restrictions in employment agreements
BY PETER CHRISTENSEN, JD
THE BASICS OF