In general, covenants not to compete involve an employee in the state of Michigan who agrees not to work for competitors of their employer when they leave the company. Such covenants are frequently called "non-compete" clauses". Signing such an agreement may either be a condition for being employed, or the employee may receive additional compensation for doing so.
When are Covenants not to Compete Unenforceable?
Foreseeing whether or not a judge will uphold a covenant not to compete is generally difficult. Even if the employee's interests may be important Michigan 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. Some agreements that courts have considered to be unreasonable include terms that last for an unusually long period of time or that cover a geographic around Lansing that is unreasonably broad.
The agreements must also deal only with those competitors whose line of employment is rationally related to the previous employer's. Lastly, the employer must have a valid business interest behind its motivation for mandating a covenant not to compete.
Do I Need an Attorney when Dealing with a Covenant not to Compete?
Before you sign any documents that could restrict your rights, you may consider hiring a Lansing, Michigan attorney who can review the covenant. The attorney can negotiate modifications to the contract if they are needed, and can draft a new clause which is acceptable to the parties involved. Attorneys can provide valuable counseling to employers who are considering suing an employer who breached a covenant not to compete. They can also assist employees who have signed an agreement limiting their employment options.