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. Even though the interests of an employer are important, North Dakota courts value a person's freedom to select the type of employment that they desire. Thus, courts will typically uphold only those covenants not to compete that they conclude to be reasonable. 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 Jamestown that is unreasonably broad.

Covenants must also be limited to restricting dealings with those competitors that are rationally related to the employer?s industry. Lastly, the employer needs to have an acceptable business interest which justifies their motives in requiring their employee to sign a covenant not to compete.

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

Before you sign any provisions that could restrict your rights, you may consider hiring a Jamestown, North Dakota 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. An attorney can also give valuable advice when it comes to suing employees for breaching covenants, or counseling employees who have signed one about whether they can accept a different job.