Ask the Legal: Is it appropriate for an employer to ask an applicant whether or not he has any outstanding agreements not to compete?
Yes. Litigation of restrictive covenants and agreements not to compete is on the rise. Very often, employers first learn that one of their employees is bound by an agreement not to compete when they receive a letter from a former employer advising them that the employee should cease and desist from all activity that in any way competes with the former employer’s business. At that point, the new employer faces possible legal action not to mention the headache caused by having to address the issue with clients and customers. In order to avoid this scenario, it is appropriate for an employer to ask an applicant whether he is a party to any agreement that would prevent him from working for the company.
As appeared in: Pittsburgh Business Times, 1/24/2014