Although noncompetition agreements remain unenforceable under state law, a new law confirms that Oklahoma employers may enforce agreements prohibiting former employees from soliciting a company’s employees to leave their jobs to work for another employer.
For some time, Oklahoma employers have been able to contractually prohibit former employees from soliciting workers for a reasonable period of time, but Senate Bill 1031 confirms and reinforces such prohibitions by codifying that a nonsolicitation provision is not an unlawful restraint of trade. Under the law, employers may have contracts that prohibit employees or independent contractors from directly or indirectly soliciting employees or contractors to become employees for another organization.
The new law states that nonsoliciation contracts don’t violate Oklahoma law prohibiting the enforcement of noncompetition clauses. Oklahoma employers also continue to have the right to prohibit current and former employees from soliciting a company’s established customers.
The new law goes into effect November 1. Any employee nonsolicitation agreements signed after that date will be enforceable under the new statute. Employers are advised to consider requiring employees to sign new nonsolicitation agreements after November 1. Employers also should make sure that appropriate consideration (something of value) is provided to the signing employees to support any new agreements.