Generally speaking, in North Dakota, 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?

Whether or not a judge will conclude that the covenant is enforceable can be difficult to know beforehand. While employer's interest are significant, the courts of North Dakota 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. A court will usually hold non-compete clauses to be unreasonable if they involve unusually long periods of time or if they cover a geographic region surrounding Bismarck 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?

A Bismarck, North Dakota 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. 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.