Generally speaking, in Montana, a covenant not to compete means that the employee will agree not to work for any of their employer's competitors upon leaving the company. Such agreements are also known by the term "non-compete clauses". Employees who sign them may either receive compensation or simply be required to agree as a condition for their employment.

When are Covenants not to Compete Unenforceable?

It is difficult to discern whether a judge will enforce a given non-compete agreement. Even if the employee's interests may be important Montana 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. A court will typically hold non-compete clauses to be unreasonable if they involve unusually long periods of time or if they cover a geographic region surrounding Missoula that is excessively large.

Covenants must also be limited to restricting dealings with those competitors that are rationally related to the employer?s industry. Finally, an employer is required to have a valid business reason in its motivation for imposing a covenant not to compete on an employee.

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

Since covenants could restrict your rights, you may wish to hire a Missoula, Montana lawyer to review any provisions. They will be able to negotiate further changes to the covenant, and can draft an entirely new one that is acceptable to all parties if needed. 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.