Several years ago I took the deposition of the business owner who hired several employees from a competitor in violation of a noncompetition agreement the employees had with the competitor. As part of enforcing the agreements against the former employees, the competitor sued the new employer for tortious interference with contract because the new employer/business owner was aware of the noncompetition agreements and hired the employees nonetheless.
During the deposition the indignant business owner repeatedly justified the hiring of the employees that had noncompete agreements as being appropriate because, "Texas is a right to work state!" It made me realize that some employers, and probably many employees, don’t know what it means to be a right to work state. Here is what it means.
A right to work state is one in which prohibits employers and unions from agreeing to make membership in a union a condition of employment. The fact that Texas is a right to work state has no effect on the enforceability of a noncompete agreement nor does it provide any legal excuse or justification to ignore the employees prospective employees have with their former employers. So if you are a business owner considering hiring employees from a competitor who have noncompetition agreements, don’t think that the fact that Texas is a right to work state will justify that behavior and contact a labor and employment lawyer to ensure that the hiring of those employees will not result in litigation. There may be other good and sufficient grounds to have the noncompetition agreements set aside, but the the fact Texas is a right to work state is not one of them.
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