Generally speaking, in New York, 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". Signing such an agreement can either be a condition for being employed, or the employee may receive additional compensation for doing so.
When are Covenants not to Compete Unenforceable?
Whether a given judge will enforce a non-compete agreement is difficult to discern in advance. Even if the employee's interests may be significant New York 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. 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 Chappaqua that is unreasonably broad.
Covenants must also be limited to restricting dealings with those competitors that are reasonably related to the employer's industry. Finally, the employer needs to have an acceptable business purpose 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 Chappaqua, New York 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. 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.