In general, covenants not to compete involve an employee in the state of Missouri who agrees not to work for competitors of their employer when they leave the company. Such covenants are often called "non-compete" clauses". Compensation might be paid for employees who sign the covenant, or at times the employment might be conditioned upon such an agreement.
When are Covenants not to Compete Unenforceable?
Knowing in advance whether a judge will enforce an employee's non-compete clause can be hard. Although the interests of employers are significant, courts in Missouri also give importance to an employee's freedom to choose the type of employment that they desire. As a result, courts usually uphold only those covenants that are consider to be reasonable according to 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 St. Louis.
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 must have a legitimate 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?
You might want to hire a St. Louis, Missouri 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. Employers can receive useful advice from an attorney should they decide to sue a worker for breaching a covenant, and employees who have signed such covenants can also benefit from a lawyer's counseling.