In general, covenants not to compete involve an employee in the state of Massachusetts who agrees not to work for competitors of their employer when they leave the company. Such covenants are frequently called "non-compete" clauses". An employee who signs them either does so as a condition to employment or they may receive compensation for the agreement.
When are Covenants not to Compete Unenforceable?
Knowing in advance whether a judge will enforce an employee's non-compete clause can be difficult. Even if the employee's interests may be important Massachusetts courts will certainly assign great weight to a person's freedom to choose the type of employment that is suitable for them. Accordingly, only those covenants which are deemed to be reasonable will be upheld by the court. Those provisions that courts have seen to be unreasonable include those that last for an prolonged period of time or cover geographic areas around Dartmouth that are unreasonably large.
The agreements must also deal only with those competitors whose line of employment is rationally related to the previous employer's. Lastly, there must be a legitimate business interest which motivates the employer's mandating a covenant not to compete.
Do I Need an Attorney when Dealing with a Covenant not to Compete?
A Dartmouth, Massachusetts lawyer can help you review the covenant before you sign any documents that might limit your rights. The lawyer can assist you in negotiating modifications or if needed, they can possibly draft a new agreement which will be acceptable to both parties. A lawyer can also render useful advice for employers who are considering suing an employee for breach of covenant, or they can counsel employees who have signed such an agreement.