Usually, a covenant not to compete is when a Iowa employee agrees not to work for an employer's competitors when the employee leaves the company. Covenants not to compete are also known as "non-compete clauses". Signing such an agreement can either be a condition for being employed, or the employee may receive additional compensation for doing so.

When are Covenants not to Compete Unenforceable?

Whether or not a judge will conclude that the covenant is enforceable can be challenging to know beforehand. While the employer?s interests are significant, Iowa courts place great weight on an individual?s freedom to pursue the employment they want. Accordingly, courts have only upheld those agreements that they consider reasonable under the circumstances. Covenants not to compete that a court will categorize as unreasonable include agreements that last for a long duration or that restrict the employee to an unreasonable geographic area around Des Moines.

Non-compete clauses are also limited in that they may only apply to competitors who are rationally related to the industry of the employer. Finally, the employer needs to have an acceptable business purpose which justifies their motives in requiring their employee to sign a covenant not to compete.

Do I Need an Attorney when Dealing with a Covenant not to Compete?

You might want to hire a Des Moines, Iowa lawyer to review the covenant before signing any provisions that may limit or restrict your rights. The lawyer will then be able to negotiate any modifications to the contract as needed, or they can even draft a new one should it be required by one or both parties. Attorneys can provide valuable counseling to employers who are contemplating suing an employer who breached a covenant not to compete. They can also assist employees who have signed an agreement limiting their employment options.