Generally speaking, in North Carolina, a covenant not to compete means that the employee will agree not to work for any of their employer's competitors when leaving the company. Such agreements are also known by the term "non-compete clauses". Employees who sign them can either receive compensation or simply be required to agree as a condition for their employment.
When are Covenants not to Compete Unenforceable?
Knowing in advance whether a judge will enforce an employee's non-compete clause can be difficult. While employer's interest are important, the courts of North Carolina also put a high level of importance on a person's ability to pursue their desired employment opportunities. Consequently, a court will generally only uphold non-compete clauses which under the circumstances are considered to be reasonable. Some provisions that courts have considered to be unreasonable include terms that last for an unusually long period of time or that cover a geographic around Elon that is unreasonably broad.
The agreements must also deal only with those competitors whose line of employment is reasonably related to the previous employer's. Lastly, the covenant not to compete must have a valid business purpose which is behind the employer's motivation for requiring the agreement.
Do I Need an Attorney when Dealing with a Covenant not to Compete?
Before signing anything that may restrict your rights, you might want to hire an Elon, North Carolina attorney to review the contract. A lawyer can then negotiate to modify the covenant as needed, or might even draft a new one that is acceptable to both parties A lawyer can also render useful advice for employers who are contemplating suing an employee for breach of covenant, or they can counsel employees who have signed such an agreement.